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Baseball Is A Game Of Inches

I'll tell you more about that cliche in a minute, but indulge me momentarily while I tell you about the latest Stupid Cub Security Stunt:

I have been sitting in the bleachers for nearly 30 years and in my current location for 25. Today, a new security guard who I had never seen before came up to us right as the game started and told us, "You have to put your umbrellas down; Wrigley Field policy."

Well first of all, there was absolutely no one standing behind us at the time. Second, this is not Wrigley Field policy and never has been. He told a few other people this same thing, and their answer was the same as ours: "No we don't." Anyway, we got a security supervisor to straighten this moron out, and luckily so, because the entire game was played in a steady light rain, which stopped for a few minutes in the sixth inning and again in the ninth. Tomorrow's weather forecast isn't much better, but I'd imagine unless the rain is torrential, they'll play again in similar conditions, given the sellout crowd, the importance of the game, and the fact that the Cardinals and Cubs have a doubleheader already on Tuesday.

Today, the Brewers used two players rescued from the scrap heap to defeat the Cubs. One of them, Doug Davis, chose today to pitch the game of his life, though he needed to be rescued by the bullpen. The other, outfielder Jason Conti, is only on the Brewers' roster today because Geoff Jenkins broke his thumb three days ago and is out for the season; his only significant playing time was last year for Tampa Bay.

Conti was placed in the game for defensive purposes, and the first ball he touched, he overran Sammy Sosa's ninth-inning single, which put the tying run in scoring position with one out. After Moises Alou struck out on Dan Kolb's "here, hit it" fastball, Aramis Ramirez walked to load the bases for... yes, Eric Karros again, who had grounded out yesterday in a similar situation, though not in the 9th.

He hit a screaming line drive at Conti, who made a diving, stretched-out catch to end the game. Yes, a game of inches. Yes, that's a cliche. Four inches or so higher or lower, and the ball gets by Conti to the wall, and the game ends with a 3-2 Cubs win.

Instead, it's a frustrating 2-0 loss to the Brewers, and a deficit of 2 1/2 games to the Cardinals, who won their game today, though only 1 1/2 behind the Astros, who lost two of three to the Padres at home, before heading out on a ten-game road trip starting tomorrow in Los Angeles. That makes it absolutely imperative that the Cubs win at least 3 of the 5 games vs. St. Louis coming up beginning tomorrow. Fortunately, our top four pitchers -- plus "TBA" -- will face the Cardinals, and though Dusty Baker never listens to my advice, I'd start Felix Sanchez against them in the second game on Tuesday, presuming Sanchez is in fact called up. He's got a great arm, and he's a lefthander who might actually get hitters out.

I thought Juan Cruz threw pretty well today, after a shaky first inning, but he was pretty well done after throwing 90 pitches into the 6th, which has been his problem all along as a starter -- stamina. The bullpen did a good job today of shutting the Brewers down, but the Cubs couldn't do anything, hitting into three double plays, and running themselves into another one when Ramon Martinez had a brain fart in the first and got picked off after Sammy struck out.

This thing can still be done. But there are now only twenty-seven games remaining, and with today's weather, fall is just around the corner. Time grows short.

Update on the guy who got hit in the face yesterday: he got cut pretty bad, but only because of his sunglasses ripping his skin, and he was apparently OK with everything the Cubs did for him. The security EMT's told me that his girlfriend was nasty and rude to them, unfortunately. So maybe it was best for all that the two of them had to leave before BP was even over.