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What Is It About Mother's Day?

I'm about to petition MLB to always schedule the Cubs out of town on Mother's Day.

Last year it was the "Typhoon Game", the four innings played against the Cardinals, in horizontal rain and 48-degree temperatures, and having played that long they ought to have played another inning and made it official -- though to be fair, the postponement wound up giving us the excitement of the five-game series in September.

Today, our ABC-7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz forecast a beautiful day, partly cloudy with temps in the 80's, and no rain till "late Monday".

So, after three days of dragging the umbrella to the game, I left it in the car.

About the third inning I said to Mike, "I don't like the looks of those clouds" -- dark clouds gathering to the west, though they appeared at the time to be heading mostly north and west of the city. And this after I kept telling everyone how amazing it was that we've gotten 16 games into the season without a rain delay.

Luckily, I keep a Cubbie blue poncho in my backpack, and it kept me and my scorecard mostly dry, as the game was lengthened to near-ridiculousness by three rain delays totalling about 45 minutes (and they could have played through the the first two of them, which lasted barely over ten minutes, and on the second one it stopped raining even before the ground crew could get the field covered), and four extra innings, but Corey Patterson's bases-loaded, two-out single in the last of the 13th won this must-win game, 5-4 over the Rockies, keeping the Cubs two games behind the Astros, who also won this afternoon.

It's hard to call a game this early "must-win", but it would have been really embarrassing to lose two of three to a team as bad as Colorado is. The Cubs just don't seem to have the "oomph", as Phil put it today. They left nine men on base in the first nine innings, and relying on Damian Jackson to hit home runs isn't going to cut it if this team is going to do what we all expect it to do. Sometimes it's hard for a team to go from where the Cubs were at this time last year to "expectations", and they've struggled at times.

Dusty Baker is one of the better managers at dealing with things like this, and all we can do is hope that he can steer this ship through the upcoming West Coast trip with at minimum, a split, because after that the Cubs start a tough stretch with the Giants, Cardinals and the first two home and home series with Houston.

Al the Media Whore had to relinquish his title to Jeff the Media Whore, because after talking to the Sun-Times reporter for 20 minutes on Thursday, I didn't make the article. Jeff, on the other hand, got quoted extensively, as well as getting his picture in the paper.

Just to show that we are all a family in the bleachers (which is the point of the book Holly is working on, here's the article from today's Sun-Times. I actually wanted to save the paper (Jeff promised to autograph it for me) but it pretty well got ruined in the rain.

None of us (save Mike, who always seems to have his small umbrella with him) was that well-prepared for the rain. Neither Carole nor Phil had any rain gear at all, so they spent the rain delays running up and down the ramp; they'd probably have stayed drier if they had just stayed with us. The poncho did me pretty well; the scorecard's dry but has a couple of badge-of-honor water stains, and Jeff & Krista looked awfully cute in their matching Eddie Bauer green-and-black rain suits.

Just to tell you how concentrated in a small area these rainstorms were, it didn't rain at my house, which is only about a mile and 3/4 south of Wrigley Field.

I suppose I should say a bit about the baseball played today, though the Cubs used that term loosely. Sergio Mitre slogged through his six innings as if he were getting rained on, although with three double plays helping him out he threw only 78 pitches, despite allowing ten hits. He's probably earned another start. Both Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins threw well, keeping the game close, but the Cubs could simply not score anyone after Tom Goodwin's pinch-hit RBI double in the sixth. In fact, the Cubs left the bases loaded in that inning, after having done so in the fifth as well.

The worst baserunning mistake was Derrek Lee's in the eighth; after he was hit by a pitch for the second time today, and was sacrificed to second, he took off for third and Ramon Martinez lofted an easy fly to right.

Now -- this has to be Wendell Kim's fault, because I don't think I've ever seen a baserunner as confused as Lee was there. He rounded third, then headed back, then turned around again, and by the time he realized what had happened, he was easily doubled off.

I know Kim is Dusty Baker's pet coach, but seriously, he's about the worst third-base coach I have ever seen. He really must go. Lee might not have scored, but at least he'd have been in scoring position with two out, and Todd Walker probably would have hit for Hawkins. Todd Hollandsworth apparently had a sore wrist today and couldn't hit, which again makes you cry out -- why are the Cubs carrying 12 pitchers, especially since Todd Wellemeyer is only used in "Dawn of the Dead" situations. They could have used another hitter today, as Jose Macias was sent up to lead off the 9th hitting for Hawkins. Macias is going to acquire the "You Still Suck" monicker this year, given to a player who does an occasional good thing even though he stinks -- problem is, you have to actually do something good before you can get that officially, and Macias hasn't. He really is terrible. There are at least two other options (Bill Selby, Benji Gil) at Iowa who would be better.

All, however, is well that ends well, as Patterson, who struck out with the bases loaded in the sixth and who has looked pretty miserable lately, was dissed by the Rockies when they intentionally walked Jackson, who had led off the game with a homer, to pitch to him. Kudos to Dusty for actually leaving Rusch in to sacrifice runners along, realizing the Rockies would probably do this and make the lefty Jeff Fassero pitch to Patterson. At long last, Jeff Fassero helps out the Cubs...

Joe Borowski didn't, however. He gave up a long home run to Todd Helton leading off the 10th, and if Aramis Ramirez hadn't matched that in the bottom of the inning, Joe would have been saddled with the loss. Either he's lost his velocity or his edge, and I think Dusty might actually have to consider other closer options at this point.

So, the Cubs finish the homestand with a 10-6 home record, which is a pace that would result in 50 wins at home. I think we'd take that, but the hitting, which has sputtered to life a couple of times in the last week, must become more consistent.

Happy Mother's Day, all. Maybe next year it'll be dry.