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This & That

Today is an afternoon in anticipation of the first test between the Cubs and Astros, with the pitcher who's really been the most consistent all year, Carlos Zambrano, facing Roy Oswalt, tonight.

So, I thought I'd turn over this space to a couple of you who have e-mailed me in the last day or so.

First, this from Robb Curtice, who made it to Chicago from Evansville, Indiana, for the Cardinal series (and I reproduce this exactly as written, punctuation, abbreviations and all):

My girlfriend and I managed to score tics to Friday's and Sunday's games (via the torturous "Virtual Waiting Room") and were in the bleachers on Sunday. We got to the field @ 2pm to MAKE SURE I was one of the lucky 5000 to go on the field for the Gawk-fest while she got us a good seat. Don't get me wrong, being on the field was flat-out magical for me. (I'm 33, been a Cubs fan since '84, and it was my 3rd visit to Wrigley ever.) But standing down on the field and snapping a few shots of the players and watching the masses attack them like jackels was a bit odd for me. I did end up getting a pic w/ "the Polish Assassin," mainly b/c there weren't a lot of people around at the time, but for the most part I just felt bad for the players to have to w/stand this dog-and-pony show. So, instead of the players I ended up taking a lot of pics of the bricks-n-ivy, the foul-poles, etc.

This is where I get to something that you might possibly find amusing.

After I came up from the field, I looked straight ahead at a guy that I'm pretty sure was you. Perched on the top row, score-card (on a clip-board) in hand, with what looked to be a bald/shaved head under a cubs hat. Now, I don't really know what u look like, but I know u've talked about shaving your head, where u sit, and maybe a few other things, to lead me to believe that the guy I was looking at was you.

So, at first I thought, "I should go say hello, and tell him I read his stuff." But then, I considered what was going on down on the field.

I thought of the pained look on several players faces as hundreds of fans cried, "how bout one more w/ my sister?" to the Cubs players.

I thought about the way-too-weird atmosphere as I walked by the players parking lot Friday and about 50 fans were yelling @ Kyle Farnsworths' girlfriend (or wife... whatever) as they were just trying to leave the park as quickly, and quietly as they could.

My next thought was that you probably had people bothering you all the time, and I should let you enjoy your conversation and the evening un-interupted. It was about an hour later that I laughed to myself as I realized I had just put u on the same celebrity level as the Cubs PLAYERS! I really don't want your ego to get out of hand, but I wonder if you have any idea how many people read your blog, and really kind of consider you a Cub "insider?"

You may have a firm grasp of your influence and "place in the world (of Cubs fans, at least)," but I think it must be fairly cool to write something that so many people around the country (and abroad) fine entertaining and informative enough to read on a daily basis.

And I hope that you still get at least a little of the feeling I got on Sunday when I looked out at Wrigley Field, the Cubs, and the great game of baseball, played at the highest level, from my seat in the 1st row in left field. I will never forget that feeling, and I hope I get it every time I'm there.

One last thing about Sunday's game: In the 7th, when Scotty Rolen hit the home-run to left, it was MY girlfriend that came up w/ the ball - and threw it back onto the field. This is remarkable because we are from Evansville Indiana... Scott's from Jasper (about an hour away), he hit a bomb off me in high-school that might still not have landed, and my girlfriends' whole family are Cardinal fans. She figures she might be dropped from a will or two, but it was well worth it... except I really wish she'd have waited long enough to get the "dummy" ball from the guy next to me and throw IT back... but u can't be nit-pick when your girlfriend does something so cool, can you?

First of all, and I've written this here before, I never lose sight of the fact that so many Cub fans never get the chance to do what I do every day, and it is special and will always be so.

Second, Robb, I wish you had said hi. From your description, and knowing that everyone from the photo day was coming up the stairs right next to us, that almost certainly was me that you saw sitting there. If you get back to the bleachers any time, please stop by and introduce yourself. The same goes for anyone reading this.

I also heard from Kasey Ignarski, who as I mentioned recently has a cool Cubs site of his own (you're welcome for the plug!), who I learned shares a superstition with me...

I bring several pencils to the park. I, like I assume you do, score every game I go to. The pencil I start out with may or may not be the one I finish with. This is because when I feel the game is not going the Cubs way, I tend to put some of the blame on the pencil I am using. If they start going bad, I change my pencil. I might go thru 5-6 different pencils during the game looking for the one that has a win in it. Sometimes, I end up using only 1 pencil. That was the case last Sunday. In a situation like that, I try to remember which one I used and start out the next game I go to using that pencil and hope for the best. Sometimes, I just can't find the right pencil for today (or feel I need to add more pencils since none of these are working right). My friends think I am nuts. When I cleaned out my backpack after last year, I found about 20 pencils in it.

Is your pencil superstition like this?

Oh, man, you have to be kidding. I thought I was the only one who did this. I have often brought in a "relief pencil" when I thought the Cubs needed a rally. This year, so far, I haven't really needed to do that, but I do keep backups, plus a battery-operated pencil sharpener, in my backpack. Beyond that (and getting my Big Gulp from the same spigot at the 7-11, which I've written about here before), I've started a new one: If the Cubs win, I have to wear the cap I wear to that game until they lose. This means I must wear my 2004 Cub Convention cap (which I put on for the first time this year on Saturday, and wore again on Sunday), to the next home game. Here's hoping I'm wearing it for a week or more.

Yes, we're all nuts. But then, we are Cubs fans.