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The Invisible Team

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Take a look at this recap of the Cubs' 6-1 loss to the Giants, their eighth loss in a row. It's as if the Cubs didn't even exist -- the entire story was about the Giants and Bonds, except for this paragraph:

[Jason] Schmidt retired 19 of the first 20 batters he faced -- allowing only a solo homer to Michael Barrett in the second before getting 15 straight outs until Todd Walker's seventh-inning single.
That was it. And I guess that really was about it -- once again, I had to go to sleep so I could get up for work, and shut the TV off after the fourth inning, when it was still 1-1, and pretended the Cubs actually had a chance to still win the game. The rest of that game story was all about you-know-who, and how Juan Pierre, called in this Yahoo column by Jeff Passan "Chicago's little centerfielder", robbed Bonds of HR #714 at the CF wall in the fifth inning -- a spectacular catch, granted, but not the sort of thing you want as the only game highlight for your team.

And "little centerfielder"? Look at Passan's photo on his column page:

How old is this guy, anyway? 12?

What else is there to say today, anyway? Reverse psychology didn't work; Jason Schmidt continued to dominate the Cubs as he has for the last five years. Michael Barrett's HR, the only Cub run, provided Barrett's first RBI in the last fourteen games he's played (since April 21 at St. Louis).

Here's something else sort of darkly amusing: at least at this writing, if you go to the Cubs website front page and click on the little icon that says "VOTE" underneath the primary story area on the left, you'll get a headline that says "Ramirez hopes Cubs fans send him packing".

Yes, I know what it means, but it sure doesn't come across as very positive.

Other teams can score runs. Look here, for example. The Dodgers scored twelve off Houston -- the Astros' fifth loss in a row, incidentally. Four other teams scored ten runs last night, including the Royals, who came from behind three times to beat Cleveland.

This post, I realize, is meandering all over the place, and it's going even further afield. Here's an idea. The Yankees put Gary Sheffield on the DL, and Melky Cabrera, who was called up to replace him on the roster, dropped an easy fly ball, helping the Red Sox blow the Yankees out 14-3 last night.

Why not call them and see if they'll take Jacque Jones? He might hit really well with Yankee Stadium's short porch, and Cabrera, a switch-hitter, could platoon with him. It wouldn't even matter if the Cubs got nothing more than a lower-level prospect in return; dumping the contract wuold be enough. Then the Cubs could call up Felix Pie and put him in RF.

I've been a proponent of keeping Pie in the minors till September, but at this point, something BOLD has to be done.

There's really nothing more to say about last night's game, so I'm going to finish this morning with a personal story. As you know if you've been here for a while, last fall I bought a Toyota Prius. Love it. Great car, and love getting 44 MPG, especially now.

The car recently hit 5000 miles, and when it does, an indicator light that says "MAINT REQD" comes on and stays on. The manual says that when that happens, you're supposed to get an oil change.

OK, fine. Went and did that, figured that the indicator would go off. It didn't. I called a couple of Toyota dealers, and they said, in essence, that if you take the car to anywhere but a Toyota dealer for the oil change, they won't know how to reset the indicator, and I'd have to bring it in. No charge, but I'd have to have a Toyota service person do it.

Well. It took about three seconds of googling to find this page, on which the procedure for resetting the indicator is found:

1. Turn the power switch IG-ON (foot off brake, push power twice) and make sure that the ODO/TRIP meter is displaying the odometer.

2. Turn the power switch OFF.

3. While pushing (and holding) the ODO button, turn the power switch IG-ON.

4. The reminder light will flash until the reset is completed.

5. The reset is complete when the reminder light turns OFF. Release the ODO button.

6. After the reset, the ODO/TRIP meter displays as a set of zeros for 1 second, then displays your normal odometer mileage.

And then it took about fifteen seconds to actually do this.

What is it with car people? Do they think we're stupid and can't do this? Or do they think we're stupid and will bring the car in to have this done and then they can tell us about several hundred dollars' worth of repairs that we didn't know we needed?

OK, rant over. Have to get frustrations out somehow.

One day the Cubs will win a game again. Losing streaks always end. But the Cubs have scored only nine runs in the eight games. This is about as bad as I've ever seen a Cub team play, and I've seen several 95+ loss teams.

Do something, Jim Hendry. Now, while there are still four and a half months of baseball left.