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Comments From John A.

Got an e-mail just now from John, who, along with Howard, shared today's game from the lawn at Tempe, and I wanted to share some of his comments with all of you:

Well, thanks to Al, I took in my first ball game of 2004 and I really enjoyed it. It was a beautiful cloudless day, a mite warm, but not uncomfortably so, and the company was good -- a couple of true baseball fans.

It's a shame the Cubs didn't generate some offense, but as Al pointed out,Escobar was really tough and any team would have have had a hard time scoring on him today. He went 7 innings. And to make it even tougher, the Angels brought in Troy Percival, their All-Star closer, for the 9th. Really the best shot at scoring was the 8th against Rodriguez, who threw a couple to the backstop (one on a third strike to Bako) and also hit a batter.

All in all...a really fun day, though. The halter tops and bikini tops were nice...I'm afraid I can't report on the shirtless men as I try to avert my eyes away from that stuff. I wouldn't want to suddenly go blind and have that be the last image I remember seeing.

I know this is starting to get old from me, but I still think the Cubs miss Lofton. I know Corey Patterson is great and was having a breakout year before he got hurt, but he does not seem to put the same kind of pressure on the opposing defense that Kenny does. Lofton gets on by a walk or a slap hit or a bunt and it changes everything. The middle infielders have to cheat towards the bag, the pitchers have to throw more fastballs and the catchers have to worry about getting off a throw. Then he steals 2nd, goes to third on a groundout and scores on a sac fly. It just changes everything.

John and I talked about Lofton during the game, and while his points are good ones, unfortunately, there wasn't really a spot for him on this year's team, and he still wanted to play every day. Today, incidentally, Joe Torre announced that Lofton will bat 9th, at least for the season opener in Japan, which is an unfamiliar spot for him. We'll see how he reacts.