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Review: "Cirque du Soleil" and Open Thread: Cubs vs. Brewers, Thursday 8/10, 1:05 CT

While the Cubs were losing, and looking bad doing it, to the Brewers 6-3 last night, I took Rachel to see Cirque du Soleil, set up in a giant blue and yellow tent seating about 2800 in one of the parking lots at the United Center.

With a day game today -- and Mark & I are heading up to Milwaukee shortly -- this will serve as a multitask post; first, a couple of quick notes on last night's game, then, a review of Cirque du Soleil, and finally, your open gameday thread for today's game.

About the game, I have only a couple of comments:

  • The dropped third strike. I didn't see it, so I don't know whether Michael Barrett could have handled it. Given the fact that he was charged with a passed ball, it seems likely that he should have handled it. Clearly, this upset Z, and this resulted in him losing focus for a short time, and the HR to Brady Clark could have been predicted. It's plays like this that make me think, again, that the Cubs ought to "sell high" on Barrett.
  • The missed call at first base. Replays apparently showed Geoff Jenkins was out; if David Bell had then singled, only one run would have scored, not two. On the other hand, maybe Bell wouldn't have gotten a hit at all -- these are the sorts of plays that can unhinge Z.
This club, as I've mentioned many times before, has such a slim margin for error, that plays like this will, almost every time, cost you the ballgame. If these plays go in the Cubs' favor, Aramis Ramirez' 3-run HR is likely enough to win the game.

Dusty Baker, apparently comparing himself to Lemony Snicket, called it "a series of unfortunate events". He's right; a better team would be able to shake those things off and win anyway. This Cub team hasn't been able to do that.

In that same article, Baker says that it's not just Jim Hendry's choice as to whether he returns or not:

Baker was asked if he would accept a one-year deal to manage in 2007 if the Cubs offered one. "I don't know, dude. I'll worry about that later," Baker replied. "That's my attitude. ? I have a choice too, you know. Both sides have a choice."

Hasn't Baker said all along he wants to return?

"Yeah," he said, "but I still have a choice."

Cryptic, isn't it?

Now, about "Corteo", the current Cirque du Soleil show. According to the show's website, here's what it's about:

The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us.
Mmmm-kay. I didn't catch any of that and neither did Rachel, but we both enjoyed the fantastic acrobatic acts that are a mainstay of Cirque du Soleil. There was a performer who climbed up and down a ladder -- not one of those ladders with four legs, but one with TWO -- without anyone steadying the ladder. There's a tightwire, which you might see at any circus -- but it goes on a diagonal angle. There's something they call "Teatro Intimo" (performing, after a fashion, "Romeo & Juliet"), sort of a human puppet stage; the funniest thing here was someone trying to hang a crescent moon over the scene, dropping it several times before finally giving up and joining the scene.

There were people on trampolines, plenty of performers being swung back and forth on very, very high platforms, jugglers of various types, a couple of pantomime horses, and several whimsical sketches, including one I particularly liked, where a woman's head popped up through the floor as a golf ball, while two clowns attempted, with a very, very large golf club, to hit the "ball", only to find it continually disappearing. Rachel said she liked the music, too, which fit in quite well with the show. If you go, don't expect to understand any grand story line as quoted above -- just enjoy the acts for the spectacle.

After the show we were fortunate enough to get a quick backstage tour, courtesy of Jon's girlfriend Tiffany, who is working as one of the stage managers there.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Mark Prior
M. Prior
vs. Doug Davis
D. Davis
1-5 W-L 7-6
6.64 ERA 5.01
37 SO 101
24 BB 76
9 HR 14
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs
Let's see. Last night I tried to point out how Carlos Zambrano was virtually unbeatable in road night games, and thus almost to spite me, he went out and stunk out the joint. So maybe I'll try this today -- Doug Davis was pretty bad against the Cubs last month, allowing seven earned runs (and walking six Cubs, something that's almost impossible to do), on July 9 in a 11-4 Cubs win. Cubs Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.