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Surrealism

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Just two days ago, the Cubs were riding a six-game winning streak, their pitchers were barely allowing hits, much less runs, and the parade of runners across the plate for the ballclub seemed never-ending.

What happened to that team? Did they forget to get on the plane to Phoenix?

It's a good thing Dusty decided to give Todd Hollandsworth a start yesterday (Derrek Lee feeling a bit off after being hit in the foot by a Randy Johnson pitch on Monday), because otherwise, the Cubs would have been shut out for the second day in a row. Hollandsworth's homer in the 9th off Jose Valverde was the only Cub run in an otherwise depressing 10-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Luckily, the Brewers came back and beat the Reds 9-8, so with a 12-8 record the Cubs maintain their first-place tie with Cincinnati.

Last night's Sergio Mitre reminded me of the guy who I saw throw in spring training. He looked tentative, and he screwed up a fielding play by failing to cover first base on a grounder to Hollandsworth, allowing a run to score (in fairness, the run would have probably scored anyway if the out had been recorded and no other runs scored in the inning).

I fell asleep not long after that, woke up just in time to see Luis Gonzalez' three-run homer off Mike Wuertz (who may have surpassed Francis Beltran in the "Who-Gets-To-Go-Back-To-Des-Moines-When-Mark-Grudzielanek-Comes-Back Sweepstakes) land in the RCF seats to make it 6-0, and it being well past 10 pm and having to wake up at 3, I said to myself, "That's it!" and turned the TV off.

This makes it even more imperative that the Greg Maddux of last Friday, shows up tonight. He'll face Casey Daigle, who in three starts has walked more than he's struck out and given up 20 hits in 13 innings. The Cubs weren't swept all of last year and this would not be a good time to break that streak.

Having said all I really can about this game, I pass along the wisdom of Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly, as quoted in Dan Bickley's column in the Arizona Republic (and Bickley is a former Chicago sportswriter):

I try not to look in the stands when the Cubs and Giants come to town. It can be a little irritating. I understand the lifelong, blueblood Cubbie fans - great-grandpa, grandpa, dad and the whole deal. I certainly understand that as well as anybody. God bless them, but I'd wish to hell they'd go to Wrigley and stay out of our ballpark.

You know, those could be inciting words. Cub fans, from the look and sound of it, might have made up as much as 20% of the 33,781 last night and 33,564 on Monday. Naturally, the blowout wins took them right out of it, and on last night's telecast, Steve Stone pointed out that Brenly had told him that one of the things the D'backs wanted to do was "take the crowd out of the game early". That's an unprecedented thing for a manager to say about the fans in his own ballpark.

That's also a testament to Cub fans, who have been in evidence in amazingly large numbers at every road series so far this year, and who ought to be there in big numbers this weekend as well, as they always are when the Cubs visit St. Louis.

So not having anything else to say about baseball, I pass along this amusing story. My passport is expiring, and as I qualify for renewal by mail, I was filling out the form when I came across the box for "hair color".

Hmmm.

Since I normally shave my head, and that's what the photo will show, I wondered what to put there.

So I called them, and wound up giving the rep her laugh for the day. She put me on hold while she checked with a supervisor.

"Put your normal hair color," she said.

OK, maybe I'm dumb for not figuring this out, but I wanted to be sure, especially these days.