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My Big Fat Baseball Game

This one just sat there like a lump. Waiting, waiting, waiting, for one of the Cubs to drive in somebody who got on base. Mike mentioned it to me as early as the third inning, when Todd Walker homered and Corey Patterson singled, that "they have to start getting these runners in."

Not that inning. Not in the fourth, either, with runners on first and third with two out. And even in the ninth, down a run, the Rockies tried to give the Cubs the tie when closer Shawn Chacon threw a ball away and Tom Goodwin went to third with one out.

Nope. The Cubs lost to the Rockies 4-3, and it was made even worse by the fact that two Colorado runs scored on a homer by pitcher Jason Jennings, with two out, the second of his career, at the time tying the game at 3.

That was about the only really bad mistake Greg Maddux made today; he was locating his pitches quite well and at one point retired 12 in a row, but this is something that we saw alarmingly often in 2002 -- the first two quick outs, then hits from the bottom of the order, and that's what happened when Jennings hit the homer.

The weather was weird today -- the wind blew from every conceivable direction. It started blowing in off the lake, with temps in the 50's -- I wore a sweatshirt, jacket, t-shirt and jeans, and brought shorts. By gametime it was much warmer (though the official gametime temperature was reported as 61), so I ditched the sweatshirt and jeans for a while and put on the shorts. Then I realized it would be much harder to carry all the stuff home, so I put everything back on by the 9th.

The three Cub homers would have been out any day (all three made the street), and the Cubs should have had Jennings out of the game by about the fourth (after all, this is a guy who came in with a 10.57 ERA) but they simply could not push any further runs across. With eight men left on, and three times with a runner in scoring position, twice with less than two out, there's no excuse for not scoring, especially against a team with pitching as poor as Colorado's. The wind might have prevented a fly ball by Moises Alou in the 8th inning from leaving the park; Jeromy Burnitz caught it on a dead run near the wall, but didn't crash into the wall this time. One of the monster homers was Sammy Sosa's eighth of the year (now, he needs one to tie Mike Schmidt for ninth place on the all-time list), but the rest of his day could have been phoned in -- three strikeouts, which put him past the 2000 mark and past Andres Galarraga for second place on that all-time list, behind Reggie Jackson (2597, about five seasons away).

Unlike most milestones, I wear this one like a millstone. I have missed so many big ones over the last 25 years.

I was in St. Louis in 1979 one day before Lou Brock got his 3000th hit. I was in Milwaukee one day before Robin Yount got his. I had a chance to make a plane stopover in Minneapolis the day Dave Winfield got his, but I passed. Why? He needed four hits, and I figured he wouldn't do it. They played 13 innings and he got the four hits. Sammy Sosa couldn't wait till he got home last year to hit his 500th HR (though Jeff saw it). Also last year, Roger Clemens got beat by the Cubs going for his 300th win (though I'll certainly take that win, thankyouverymuch!).

So, I get a milestone. Yes, a negative one. Perhaps Greg Maddux' 300th win will come at home later this summer.

Today was the first time that I saw evidence of the "drunken beach party" that is the bane of our existence. It didn't get really bad till the 9th, when some young women decided it was better to stand up than to sit down and watch the game. Curiously, right at that time I spotted a young man who bore more than a passing resemblance to Mark Grace. Pointing this out to no one in particular (and Jeff did a double-take when I said it), that distracted the young women and let us watch the end of the debacle in peace.

I'll give these young women credit for this: they told Jeff that they agree with us that the human air-raid siren, who shall not be named, is a "slimebag". (Their quote)

New lefty Glendon Rusch has been spotted several times this week jogging around the ballpark before the gates have opened.

This makes the Cubs 3-5 so far against the Western Division, and these are teams that they ought to be cleaning up the floor with. This does not bode well for the upcoming road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego, and it makes a win from Mr. Meat Tray imperative tomorrow.

Even so, with 17 wins in 30 games, the Cubs are playing at a percentage pace that will get them 92 wins, which is better than all but three seasons in my lifetime. It will probably have to be a bit better than that, to make this year's postseason.

Oh -- one positive thing I can report on the team performance today. For the second straight game, Cub pitchers didn't walk anyone. Yes, that includes Kyle Farnsworth -- even though a guy who was a dead ringer for him (with a much weirder haircut) sat down next to us when Brian didn't show up.