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Sleeping With The Enemy

That's the title of a 1991 thriller film starring Julia Roberts.

It's also how I felt walking into the Ballmall this afternoon to see the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 to move to within one game of first place in the AL Central.

Why did I do this? Well, my nephew is visiting from Canada, and I'd have taken him to a Cub game, but of course, they're not in town. So with the White Sox playing a weekday afternoon, I figured this would be a nice "Chicago event" to go to, especially since the game has actual meaning, being between the top two teams in their division. Lest you think I do this alone, Howard joined my nephew, Torey, my son Mark, and me there. Fact is, we're all baseball fans as well as Cub fans, so seeing a ballgame, no matter where, on a nice summer day (though we just barely beat a pretty good downpour home) is really nice for me.

It was probably the first time in ten years that I walked out of that place without hearing the words "Cubs suck" being yelled by anyone. Yes, even when the Cubs aren't playing there. Maybe the Sox fans are focusing on their playoff chances and not thinking of their inferiority complex. There seemed to be a few Cub fans there too -- the people seated behind us down the RF line were discussing last night's Cub game, in which the bullpen made it exciting before Joe Borowski closed the door.

That's pretty much how Jerry Manuel managed this game too. Bartolo Colon had allowed only one harmless single through seven innings, and though he did give up two more in the 8th, they were hardly hard-hit, and he had thrown only 99 pitches. Thus, I am absolutely in disbelief that he yanked Colon, rather than let him try for his sixth complete game of the year. Tom Gordon promptly proved me right by allowing two singles and a monstrous home run by Carlos Beltran, which reached the concourse in right field, a shot that had to be at least 480 feet. This forced Manuel to bring in Damaso Marte, and even he wasn't that sharp, allowing the tying run to reach base before he struck out Desi Relaford to end the game.

How many Cub bullpen meltdowns have we seen like this, after a Cub manager yanked a starting pitcher who was doing fine? I felt right at home.

Unfortunately, that "right at home" feeling got worse when I spotted He Who Shall Not Be Named (you know, the human air-raid siren from the RF bleachers), one section over from us, wearing his Cubs uniform. I mean, what is he doing there? Howard and I gave him the evil eye and he left. I only wish Jeff had been there; he'd have run away so fast it would have made our heads spin.

It being a Sox-Royals game, I almost expected a few idiots to run out on the field, as that seems to have become tradition when KC is in town. It didn't happen, but today, last year's idiot (who I won't dignify here by naming him) was was sentenced to 30 months probation for his drink- and drug-induced attack on Royals coach Tom Gamboa, who was quoted as saying: "I just think it's a poor message to get sent to the public. My fear is should this happen again to another player, coach or manager in any sport, that there's been a precedent set that I think is a bad one."

Gamboa's right. A sentence of a prison term, even a short one, would have sent a clear message to the morons who think it's their right to "get on TV", or whatever, by running onto a professional sports field.

My bet's on this guy not making the 30 months on probation. Apparently he "impressed" the judge by dressing nicely and speaking politely. That's a step, but a little time served would have made a better impression.