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An Eerie Resemblance

As I stare at two huge piles of paper on my desk... and how do you get rid of that kind of thing, anyway? At a certain point, it gets so big that you have no idea where to start. So I let it continue to pile up.

The only thing that I need to know about the pile is that my season ticket book is on top of it, so I know exactly where to find my tickets when the next homestand starts.

That's not what the title of this post is about, anyway. With the nearly two days off between games (and tonight, being on the West Coast, will be a game I won't see the end of), I got to thinking about what's happened so far. At 31 games played, the Cubs are just a little under one-fifth of the season so far.

They are 18-13.

After 31 games last year... they were 18-13.

Then they lost 3 of their next 4 before winning five straight, the last of which was the 17-inning game in Milwaukee where Todd Wellemeyer made his ML debut striking out the side for a save.

That won't happen again, but only because Wellemeyer is now dead. Or might as well be, because Dusty won't let him pitch any more.

After 31 games last year, Joe Borowski had five saves. Now he has six, but appears to not be as good a pitcher as last year.

After 31 games last year, Kerry Wood was 4-1. This year he's 3-2, but is having a far more dominant season.

After 31 games last year, Mark Prior was 4-1. This year, he's just about ready to play in a minor league rehab start, maybe in a couple of weeks. My friend Dan and I make a baseball bet each year (proceeds to charity) and this year one of the topics was "What date will Prior make his first start?"

We're both going to be wrong. I picked May 18 and Dan picked May 24.

So Prior is 0-0. But Matt Clement is 5-1 and has picked up the slack nicely from Prior.

After 31 games last year, Carlos Zambrano was 3-1. This year, he's ... 3-1. But he's thrown a two-hit shutout among the three wins this year.

This 18-13 team is far better than last year's 18-13 team, despite the conventional media's intimation that it somehow is being crushed by the pressure of expectations. Moises Alou is hitting far better than at this time last year. At this time last year the Cubs' starting third baseman was Mark Bellhorn, and in that 31st game in 2003, among the pitchers was Alan Benes.

But the eeriest resemblance between game #31 in 2003 and game #31 in 2004, is that they wound up with precisely the same result: a 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.

But mostly, I wrote this post today because I'm bored and needed to talk some baseball. Incidentally, did you know that researchers in Massachusetts discovered some documents that prove that baseball was played in 1791?

No, really! Researcher John Thorn said, "It's clear that not only was baseball played here in 1791, but it was rampant. It was rampant enough to have an ordinance against it."

Here's the entire article. Yes, the Cubs have won a World Series since then. Two, in fact.

Sheesh. Time to win some ballgames in 2004.