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Brian & Kristy's Wedding

I have known Brian's dad Dave for 25 years.

Yesterday, for the first time, I saw him with a tear or two in his eye, and for a man who is generally completely stoic, it was nice to see the emotions flow, at the wedding of his oldest son.

I've seen Brian and his brothers grow up in the bleachers, because Dave has brought them out there since they weren't even as tall as a bleacher bench. Mike and I joke that if Brian's brother Kevin, who plays for the Rockford Riverhawks, ever does realize his dream of playing in the majors, that he'll be the only major league player whose diaper was changed on our bench.

There must be a new tradition for weddings these days -- have the ceremony several hours before the reception. The afternoon ceremony lasted about half an hour, then the reception wasn't till early evening. The ceremony was on the campus of Elmhurst College (where Kristy went to school), in the Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. Everyone in love should have such a lovely place to take their vows.

At the reception, Kevin and Brian's other brother Jake, co-best men, gave nice speeches, and then both of them were absolute maniacs on the dance floor.

Meanwhile, just as I did last summer when Carole and Ernie got married, I was looking for updates on the game via my web cellphone.

The theory apparently works. Whenever one of our group gets married, the Cubs win. (We were trying to convince Phil that he should be next, even sending him up there to catch the garter, but Kevin caught it.) It worked last August and worked again last night, as the Cubs tried really hard to blow a 6-1 lead, but the offense was too strong, and they blew out the Angels 10-5, including home runs from the Todds, Hollandsworth and Walker, and Aramis Ramirez.

In addition to the webphone, we were getting updates from Jeff's friend Mark, who lives in northern California but went down to Anaheim for the games last night and today.

I also got this e-mail from Helen Simmins-McMillin, a Hollywood music composer and loyal Cub fan in southern California, who is also a devoted reader of this blog, so since I didn't see any of last night's game, I thought I'd pass along this first-hand report from Anaheim this morning:

Glad you could hear us cheering on the Cubs via TV. I think we did a better job tonight (Saturday), though I was sitting in the top deck this time, so I might be able to hear more than I could last night under the first deck. But the Cubs fans tonight definitely took every opportunity to cheer, having more to cheer about, and I even managed to get a "Let's Go Cubs!" chant started once. (They kept cheering "Let's Go Cub-bies!" which seemed a little useless to me, since rhythmically it matches the "Let's Go An-gels!" that the home fans are so familiar with. I figured the more unique cheer would be recognizable to our guys on the field.) Anyway, cheering seems the only way I can help, so I try to do my best on the few occasions each year when I get to see 'em live.

Friday I got to the park very early and was able to catch all of batting practice. I was standing about 15 rows up from the Cubs dugout when Mark Prior and Larry Rothschild came out and headed out into the outfield. I noticed Prior was carrying a towel, and I'd heard of the towel drills (but have never seen them) so I made the trip around to the other side of the stadium and got a great place leaning on the rail over the Cubs bullpen to watch his bullpen session. I was standing maybe 25 feet away from him for the whole thing. Aside from finding the towel drill interesting (and being glad that's not my gloved hand he kept hitting) I thought he looked good, and though he and Rothschild obviously worked on a mechanical detail, they both seemed pleased with the session. After the towel drills were over he threw a regular bullpen session (with the catcher holding the glove right over the plate, as opposed to the regular game catching position) then Rothschild took the ball Prior used and tossed it to an adorable little girl who had been yelling "Go Cubs!" about 6 feet farther down the rail from me. Prior signed the ball as he left the bullpen. (All in all he ignored the fans, I thought to focus on his work, but I think signing the ball for the little girl was a nice touch.)

It was also fun to watch the pitchers shag balls during BP. Z seems to really get into it - he even robbed Moises (I think it was Alou) of a "home run" over the right field fence.

Let's hope Matt can pitch one run better than Escobar - and go deep into the game - tomorrow. These teams are pretty evenly matched, which makes me feel good since I think the Angels are one of the best teams in baseball right now, but the Angels in late innings are a real force to be reckoned with.

She's right. A series win on the road against the Angels, who even though they are decimated by injuries, still are one of the best teams in baseball, would not only be a statement, but could bring the Cubs within a game and a half of first place going into the key series in Houston this week.

Escobar gave the Cubs fits last June 13 in Toronto, one of the games I saw there, when he gave the Cubs 12 hits but only one run in a 5-1 Toronto win.

Most of that lineup is either hurt or no longer with the ballclub. It's time to produce. Yesterday was a good beginning.