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In the TV news biz, and in police and fire lingo, a "hazmat" is when some sort of chemical spill, or other "hazardous materials", cause shutdowns or evacuations.

And in the first inning, when Matt Clement was pitching hazardously, and struggling, and allowing an early run to the Reds, Howard immediately dubbed him "Haz-Matt".

Luckily, Haz-Matt turned into Good Matt, as Clement settled down, at one point retiring 11 in a row, and pitched into the seventh with a total of 107 pitches (38 in the first two innings), and the Cub bats exploded for a 5-run seventh, blowing open a close game into a satisfying 8-1 win over the Reds, splitting the four-game series and concluding a winning homestand with a 4-3 record, though it probably should have been 5-2.

We were all back in our bleacher perch today, and as such I turned back into Al-Master. Both Brian and Phil were looking for tickets and called me not long after I got there. I couldn't find anything, but Phil managed to find a couple, and held on to one for Brian (who, incidentally, was late in coming because he was at his graduation from the Chicago Fire Academy today) -- but only after coming upstairs and letting us know that he couldn't remember which one he had scanned, and now that they are not ripping anything but season tickets, he had to go back down with both tickets and explain what happened to security. Why they don't tear all tickets, given the scalping problem, is puzzling to me.

I will give kudos to security again today, though. Four obviously drunk young women came in, with fake ID's (though it's scary -- I got a good look at one of the fake ID's and it looked pretty legit) and tried to not only buy beer for themselves, but tried to buy one of the security people a drink. Very bad move, and one that got them immediately ejected and probably arrested, too.

This seems to be an epidemic these days, based on this article about an underage drinking party arranged off-campus by parents of some lacrosse players at Glenbrook South High School, the other half of the school district that got national infamy last May for the hazing of some junior girls.

At a contentious school board meeting last night, the board was apparently bullied by parents and students into letting the kids, who were going to be expelled, off.

This quote from the article absolutely amazes me:

"What you are establishing here is a dangerous precedent," said Art Wolf, a former school board member. "You have already intruded into people's homes and basements -- what's next, the bedroom?"

No, Art, that isn't the point. At the risk of sounding like a conservative old fart, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that clearly, adults in this community think it's OK for high school students to have a party where they drink alcohol. This is illegal. If parents won't teach morality, who will?

So the lesson learned here, which I see all the time at the ballpark, is that no one has to obey the law which says you have to be 21 to drink -- because adults say it's OK. I said to Howard when the four girls, who appeared to be high school kids, were kicked out: "Those are the future mothers of underage drinkers."

OK, sermon over.

I brought about three changes of clothes to wear, because the day started out sunny and in the 70's. But it was cooling off by the time I got there and I opted to not wear the shorts, and while the sun was out, a T-shirt and jeans were fine. The pullover I had came in handy while it was cloudy, which was most of the time, though I did wind up pulling it on and off about four times. Still, this day's weather was probably better than 90% of April days at the ballpark.

The wind was howling out to RF, right in our faces (WHOOPS! I originally posted LF, which of course was the last two days, not today), about 25 MPH, so if I'd have been Dusty Baker, I'd have stacked the lineup with left-handed hitters, including Paul Bako, who kills Reds pitching. As it turned out, only two homers were hit today, both by right-handed hitters -- Aramis Ramirez with a solo shot in the fifth, and Derrek Lee's grand slam in the 5-run seventh off Ryan Wagner, a #1 pick of the Reds last year who clearly needs more minor league time. The wind didn't seem all that tricky today either. Let's hope this helps get Lee out of the slump he's been in for almost the entire season so far.

Corey Patterson had a nice at-bat today, driving in the first two runs with a line single to right after fouling off a couple of changeups off Jimmy Haynes, he got the fastball he was looking for and pulled it nicely. Dave, always critical of Patterson, agreed with me, and did say that no matter what he's said before, at least Patterson does play hard while he's on the field.

In addition to Clement's good outing, Todd Wellemeyer threw two very good innings to finish, and he's rapidly coming up the ladder as a possible setup man. Mike Wuertz did warm up, but didn't get into the game. I'd expect a roster move to be made before tomorrow, perhaps sending Francis Beltran down and bringing up a lefty, either Glendon Rusch or Jimmy Anderson (I'd choose Rusch).

Finally, an attendance record was set this afternoon. The 4-game series drew 159,461, a new record for a four-game series, breaking the record set last year vs. the Astros.

It will likely be broken again when the Cardinals are here in June, and then again when the Astros are here in August.

Average attendance is now 39,765, which is 100.7% of capacity -- that means all tickets sold, plus some standing room, on average, for every game.