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Grrrrrrr....

And that's not even about the Cubs' frustrating 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.

That's about some of my least favorite people, the Illinois Department of Transportation. Add another "I", in an appropriate spot, to their acronym and you'll see how I really feel about them.

[rant]

In their infinite wisdom, they decided to cut I-90, the Northwest Tollway, down to what was really only 3/4 of a lane for over ten miles between about Marengo and Randall Road last night, causing over an hour of backups on a busy night around 10:30 (when jobs like this resurfacing ought to be taking place after midnight), making our trip back from Rockford last night take 2 1/2 hours rather than about 80-85 minutes, as it normally would.

[end rant]

Other than that, the nine of us (me, my wife, my kids, my nephew, Carole, Howard, his wife, and his daughter) had a terrific evening watching the Rockford Riverhawks defeat the Evansville Otters 3-1. The Riverhawks are owned by my friend Dave, and right now his son Jake is serving as their infield/first base coach. We spent about half the game trying to get Jake's attention (we were sitting down the 1B line); finally we did, and what's the first thing he asks? He needs a bleacher ticket for Monday. So I'll try to find this for him. He did wind up giving the kids a ball, which they tossed around so much that they got it almost completely dirty in the wetness underneath the stands (it had rained pretty hard in Rockford earlier in the day and the stands were pretty wet -- and the Riverhawks have a guy walking around with towels wiping off your seat).

The game was actually pretty good -- Tod Ewasko, the Otters (and where do they get these nicknames??) pitcher, took a perfect game into the fifth and a one-hitter into the 8th, before a solid single and two walks loaded the bases. Then there was a play which shows the difference between minor league and major league baseball... a soft line single into CF. Normally, a hit like this ties the game and leaves the bases loaded... but the Otters CF let it get by him and it cleared the bases and that was the ballgame.

The Riverhawks had a really nice promotion -- they gave away bobbleheads depicting members of the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which played in the 1940's and 1950's and was depicted in the terrific 1992 film "A League of Their Own". A couple of members of the team were on hand signing autographs, and were brought onto the field during the 7th inning stretch to a warm ovation from the crowd of 2,103, which is a very nice turnout for independent league baseball.

So we wound up listening to the Cubs' 3-1 loss to the Dodgers (is there something about Friday nights and 3-1 games?) on the radio on the way home. I rarely listen on the radio, and while I enjoy Pat Hughes, I wanted to call up WGN management and have them fire Ron Santo on the spot... gosh, is he awful. At one point he lost track of the game and had to ask Pat on the air, "What did Karros do?" I mean, the guy is there watching the game, and is supposed to add to our enjoyment of it, and he forgets what the last batter did? (Here, Ron, I'll help you -- it was Karros' at-bat in the 7th that he couldn't remember. He flied out to right.)

This is yet another game in which the Cubs couldn't get any opportunities against a pitcher they should have handled easily. Shawn Estes threw pretty well -- seven innings, only two earned runs, and basically, one mistake -- throwing a ball to Adrian Beltre that he managed to hit for a two-run HR, and that was the game.

I see that the Rafael Palmeiro rumors are starting up again. Frankly, I don't want this guy. The Cubs are doing OK without him; he's acting like a spoiled brat; and he is, after all, 39 years old and the Cubs cannot hide him at DH (he's split his time with Texas this year, playing 53 games at 1B, and 54 at DH so far this year). Please, Jim Hendry, find left-handed hitting help elsewhere. Like on the Cubs' bench, where Hee Seop Choi is languishing.

One more note from yesterday's review of "Seabiscuit": I forgot to mention that the fine actor William H. Macy is absolutely hilarious as a racetrack announcer. His character is one of the few things in the film that isn't part of the true story, but he does add color and humor to the film.