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Nothing's Ever Easy

Before I report on today's game, let me say that I spent five days on a tropical island and didn't see it rain as hard as it did during the seventh inning of today's exciting 7-6 Cubs win over Chattanooga, er, the Reds at Wrigley Field.

With my flight from San Juan scheduled to arrive at 2:05 (the flight was fine except when the flight attendant spilled Diet Pepsi on me. It wasn't so bad, and I didn't think till later that if I'd had made a bigger deal out of it, I might have gotten a voucher for future travel. Oh well.), I figured it wouldn't take all that long to get to the ballpark. Took the usual while to get the plane to the gate after it touched down 10 minutes early. OK, why bother landing early if you're just going to have to sit on the ground? Then there was a long line for cabs, I didn't get into the cab until about 2:20. Traffic on the Kennedy was... well, OK for a while, then stopped, I did finally manage to get the taxi driver to take my route to the ballpark, and it took several requests to get him to put the game on the radio (I don't think he spoke English very well).

So when I walked in, Jeff, Howard, Brian, Dave, Jon and Phil all looked at their watches and tried to figure out who won the pool -- on when I would arrive. I think it was 3:01 or something like that. Anyway, it was the bottom of the third, and things were looking great. Went around saying my "Buenos tardes, mes amigos!" to everyone.

And then Kerry Wood, who threw 113 pitches in a busy six innings, left the game, and the bullpen decided to implode once again. It's kind of interesting to watch, actually: how are they going to do it this time? Wednesday in San Juan, it was walks; the entire staff forgot how to throw strikes. Today, it was Mark Guthrie getting lit up for three straight hits (I think they were, anyway; by then I was sitting under my El Yunque poncho, the only raingear I had with me today), and then Antonio Alfonseca, unfortunately back from his suspension, gave up two more and a walk, and after the Reds' five-run inning, that rain came.

Folks, it was a long day and a long plane ride and it was pouring, so I decided to leave, having seen five innings. Jeff left too. Howard, Jon and I explained to Brian and Phil that had the game been called at that point, the Cubs would have won it, because if a visiting team takes a lead in an inning which is interrupted by rain, the home team must be given the chance to catch up, otherwise the score reverts to the last completed inning. The poncho did pretty well, but the scorecard got somewhat wet today. I'll wear those water stains as a badge of honor, considering what came next -- an inspired two-out, nobody-on rally, with a walk and three straight hits, none of which went very far past the infield, including the game-winner by Tom Goodwin.

I'm beginning to believe in the magic dust and spells that Dusty Baker got from his pals in New Orleans. Apparently he forgot to bring it to San Juan, or maybe it doesn't work in Spanish or something.

But something magical happened at Wrigley Field today. Sure, the Reds aren't much of a team (there are only seven players left from their opening-day roster), and the Cubs ought to sweep this series. I could feel it all the way from home.

It does go against my grain, but Go Cardinals, at least for tonight. Hope is alive, though wet tonight.