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In another fairly meaningless two-inning stint from a Cub starter, Kerry Wood looked good today and the Cubs beat the Giants 8-3 in front of what is going to be commonplace this March, a capacity crowd of 12,857 at Ho Ho Kam Park.

Nomar Garciaparra hit today's two-run homer. Perhaps this will become a spring tradition.

Other than that, I can't tell you too much about the game that you can't find out yourself from reading the box score. Glendon Rusch (two runs) and LaTroy Hawkins (one) gave up all the Giants' runs. Todd Wellemeyer and Jon Leicester threw two scoreless innings each. What does it mean? Nothing, really, other than I would imagine the latter two are happy today and the former two aren't.

The next two days will mean even less, because the starting pitchers will be John Koronka (tomorrow) and Jimmy Anderson (Sunday). This is because Mark Prior is being held back -- no, don't panic, Cub fans, there's a plan at work here -- and Koronka and Anderson will either be mainstays at Iowa or someone will pick them up in a deal before spring training is over.

With no game to hear on the radio (and none tomorrow, either), I took in a movie tonight: "The Merchant of Venice", which came highly recommended and had two major stars, Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino.

Shakespeare can be kind of thick if you're not prepared for it, and I wasn't. I know the basic story and probably you do too -- there are so many well-known phrases in the English language from this play ("The quality of mercy is not strained", "pound of flesh", "if you prick us do we not bleed?", etc.), and it should have been a good thing that the filmmakers were so faithful to Shakespeare's original dialogue.

Unfortunately, the language made it difficult to understand some of the earlier portions. Pacino and Irons were terrific (although it's odd to hear Pacino's Brooklyn accent among all the other actors, the vast majority of whom were British), but overall I thought it was a little too long.

AYRating: three stars