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We figured it out, Howard and I did.

Corey Patterson likes stylin'.

The last time the Cubs were on ESPN (OK, so tonight was ESPN2) was Opening Day against the Reds. Corey homered that day.

And today, with the ESPN cameras and a blimp hovering over Wrigley Field, Corey homered again, plus drew a four-pitch walk (we almost fainted on that one). After the homer I called Carole, who spent last night ragging on Patterson all night, and before I could say a word she yelled, "He still sucks!"

The game ended on a majestic note, one of those times when you see the ball hit the bat and start its arc and you just know it's gone, and you can raise your arms in the air in triumph, and we did at Moises Alou's second walk-off homer of the season (the first was the back-to-backers with Sammy Sosa on April 16) and the Cubs came from behind to beat the Giants 4-3 in 10 innings, their first home night game win of the year after three losses.

Today's unusual (for Chicago) 6 pm starting time had a lot of people confused, particularly Jeff, who until yesterday thought today was a day game. Good thing I told him or he'd have shown up at 11 am wondering, "Where is everyone?" Unlike last year when the ballpark opened at 4:35 for a 6:05 start, today was a prompt two-hour-before-first-pitch 4:05 opening. It was warm, then cool, then warm again, and both Jeff & I were taking off, then putting layers back on. It wasn't nearly as cool as last night, a comfortable 63 degrees at game time. By tomorrow, supposedly it's going to be in the mid-80's, with a good chance of thunderstorms. We shall see.

I'll bet the ESPN people were pretty upset when they realized there would be no Barry Bonds and no Sammy Sosa in tonight's game. Bonds, according to a couple of security people I talked to, could barely walk after last night's game and won't play tomorrow either.

Meanwhile, Sammy officially sneezed himself onto the DL today and he was replaced on the roster by Jason Dubois, who made his major league debut (wearing #4, last, um, disgraced by Doug Glanville last year) pinch-hitting for Carlos Zambrano in the 7th and delivered a game-tying sac fly to right, handled by ex-Cub Michael Tucker, who was...

Well, let's say that the usual abuse given to an opposing player was given in much larger quantities to Tucker tonight. The usual ("Tuuuuuuuuucker! Tuuuuuuuuuuuucker! Tuuuuuuuuuuuucker! You suck!") was yelled so many times by some of the drunks behind us (and if I yelled like that, I wouldn't be able to talk for a week), that Tucker finally turned around and shook his head. I said to Mike that these guys probably didn't even remember that Tucker had played for the Cubs only three years ago. Plus, Tucker was the offensive hitting star for the Giants today, singling and homering.

The cobbled-together Cub lineup (seriously, I had gone to the bathroom when the lineups were announced and I thought the scorecard that Howard handed to me to copy was a joke -- Jose Macias playing right field and leading off?) was kind of sluggish for the first six innings, and Carlos Zambrano was just bad enough to leave while down 3-2, though Dubois got him off the hook. It might have been worse if Michael Barrett hadn't thrown out two runners trying to steal, which now gives him five caught stealings in fifteen attempts off him, a pretty decent percentage given his reputation coming in as a guy who couldn't throw out runners.

Today, the bullpen came through yet again. Kyle Farnsworth decided to break tradition and not walk the first batter he faced, and had a 1-2-3 inning; LaTroy Hawkins (who Howard said was only in the game as part of a MLB promotion for the movie "Troy"), had a less-than-stellar inning (and aren't the Cubs having some Achilles problems right now?), including hitting Tucker on a 2-2 pitch (after which Tucker slammed his bat to the ground), but he got out of it. Then the next movie promotion guy, Joe "The Big Borowski" (OK, you can stop groaning now), had a scoreless inning, though walking two (one intentional). (Have I put enough parentheses in this paragraph?)

It ended when Felipe Alou did what I have criticized Dusty Baker and so many other managers for, so often. Jason Christiansen, a lefty, had thrown an uneventful inning and a third, and had a good rhythm going. Nevertheless, there was no way Alou was going to let him face his son Moises, a right-handed power hitter. You know, percentage baseball. So in came righty Jim Brower, who's been probably the only really decent pitcher in the SF bullpen. Six pitches later, the game is over. So, it worked out for the Cubs, but sometimes I shake my head when managers go "by the book" like this, rather than keep a game that has a good rhythm going.

The drunk idiot quotient was pretty high tonight; we didn't have two full benches so we let some college-age people sit with us. They were pretty nice, but did keep getting up to get ... well, so many mai tai's that I lost count. They also insisted on standing right behind us to smoke, which is not allowed. And seriously, do smokers really think that if they blow smoke straight up in the air that it won't bother the nonsmokers? It doesn't work that way, especially when the wind is blowing the smoke straight back at us.

Oh, well. Eventually the Chicago City Council is going to get around to passing their proposed ordinance banning smoking at all workplaces in the city, and since Wrigley Field qualifies as a workplace, that'll be the end of it.

Despite more drunks than usual (and oddly, last night there was actually a guy who had spent money to put the word "DRUNK" on a Cubs home jersey -- and he didn't drink!), there weren't any fights that I could see, and people actually were into the game at some of the tense moments, particularly when Hawkins got out of a jam in the 9th by inducing a contact-play grounder that Aramis Ramirez made a nice play on and threw Pedro Feliz out at the plate.

When this series began last night Mike said we ought to think about a sweep, since the Giants (particularly without Bonds) aren't a very good team. That, along with Houston's win tonight leaving the Cubs still a game back, makes Greg Maddux's start against Dustin Hermanson tomorrow even more critical.

Finally, we learn today from Jayson Stark's column on that an ESPN resarcher discovered that Randy Johnson's perfect game was the first ever pitched on a Tuesday.

Some people have way too much time on their hands.