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Remember this old joke?

A philosophy professor tells his class their entire grade will be dependent on the final exam, which he is going to write on the blackboard.

When the day comes, he writes one word on the board: "Why?"

The class nearly panics; they sit there dumbfounded, after a few minutes most all of them start to write paragraph after paragraph, all but two of them, who scribble briefly, hand in their exam books, and walk out.

They are the only two to get "A" grades.

One wrote, "Why not?"

The other wrote, "Because."

And that's how we felt waiting outside the ballpark for last night's game. Why were we there? Because. And as for the rest of the game?

Well, why not?

The Cubs beat the Dodgers 9-8 last night in one of the wackiest games I have EVER seen. The Cubs made six errors -- and should have had more; Freddie Bynum made three himself (and should have had four; he pulled Derrek Lee off the bag with a throw, but J. D. Drew was generously given a hit). I haven't seen a team make six errors in a game since this mess of a game on April 29, 1989, when the Padres made six (and the Cubs had five, also the most total errors I've ever seen), and Roberto Alomar alone had three -- the only time in his career he had three errors in one game. That game was played in execrably cold conditions, so there was at least some excuse that night for the bad play. The last time a Cub team made six errors in a game was June 14, 1982, a game they also won, 12-11, and it featured three errors by a Hall of Famer -- a fellow named Sandberg. The last Cub to make three errors in a game was Shawon Dunston on May 9, 1997 -- and the Cubs also won that game. I'm not recommending bad fielding as a way to win games, however.

There was no excuse for Bynum last night, although I might cut him a little slack for dropping a popup in the pouring rain -- the only time all evening it rained, for the first inning or two, even though parts of the area were getting drenched (parts of Lake Shore Drive were apparently under water for a while). The other Bynum errors were absolutely ridiculous -- the first one a result of indecision when he turned what could have been a double play ball into a "Dancing With The Stars" routine, first pirouetting to second, not throwing there, then whirling to first and eating the ball.

I don't care that Freddie later singled and doubled; read the San Diego Smooth Jazz Man's diary for some MORE of his antics. This man simply does not belong in a major league uniform in ANY form. Let us fervently hope that after October 1, he will at least take off the Cub pinstripes for the last time. He's got to go; he's not the main reason this team sucks, but he's a very visible symptom of the problems that start in the executive suites and seep down through the dugout leadership.

And after his errors, and another by Jacque Jones, who dropped a fly ball, gave the Dodgers a 7-0 lead, we figured the game was over.

Not so fast!

In the fifth inning, after going down meekly for the first four, the Cub offense exploded; the first five batters reached base (including Buck Coats, pinch-hitting, on a Dodger defensive play that was as bad as most of Bynum's; Rafael Furcal threw his ground ball into about the third row behind the 1B dugout, forcing security to go retrieve it because it was credited as Coats' first major league hit), and all of them scored, one on a Bynum hit.

Credit to the Cubs bullpen after that; they put up 7.1 innings of two-hit, no-earned-runs baseball. Yes, I said no EARNED runs, because Ryan Dempster blew yet another save by allowing a run in the 9th, after the Cubs had taken the lead on a pinch-hit, 2-run single by Aramis Ramirez in the 7th and a sacrifice fly by Derrek Lee in the 8th, scoring Ryan Theriot, who had replaced Bynum and reached on a DODGER error -- Lee was given a tough error on what should have ordinarily been an easy out, after Cesar Izturis (isn't he the best fielding shortstop in baseball?) booted a ball leading off the inning, and then could have been given ANOTHER error on what could have been a game-ending DP, only you don't assume DP's on such ground balls; thus, the run Dempster allowed scored on no hits and wasn't his fault.

Mike had arrived quite late due to being stuck at work and we told him it was his fault, because he wanted to see as many innings as possible. By then we were laughing, because if nothing else, this game had very high value for the entertainment dollars the 35,618 assembled had paid. Actually, that's not quite right -- 35,618 paid, but only about 12,000 or so assembled, partly, of course, because of the poor play of the team, and partly because of the bad weather that inundated parts of the area but left the Wrigleyville neighborhood mostly dry. After the steady shower in the first two innings, lasting about twenty minutes, it didn't rain again -- except when I got home, right before I got out of my car, it started pouring again. Don't you love fall weather in Chicago?

I'm getting ahead of myself, as the game got goofier and many, many people left after the ninth, and then more after the tenth inning -- I'd say there were no more than 1500-2000 left at the end. After Matt Murton walked (the Cubs drew six walks last night, undoubtedly to the consternation of the manager), Geovany Soto attempted to sacrifice, but Murton was thrown out at second. Now, I am probably faster than Soto, so, one out later, after Aramis Ramirez , Baker sent in Juan Mateo to run for him. Mateo? Why not Carlos Marmol? Here, let Dusty explain his choice to you:

Baker had asked around the bench to see if any remaining pitcher could run faster than catcher Geovany Soto. After being rebuffed by Rich Hill, who said Soto was faster than him, Mateo finally answered the call.
Mateo rumbled around third base as if he were carrying Baker himself on his back, and scored the winning run in an ugly stand-up non-slide. That brought the Cubs back from a 7-0 deficit for the first time since... well, I haven't been able to find it, and neither Mike nor I could remember the last time that had happened.

In a disastrous season like the one we are experiencing, a game like this reminds all of us why we love baseball -- after seeing literally thousands of games, neither Mike nor I could remember one quite like this one... and we definitely got our entertainment dollar's worth.

Record watch: Bob Howry made his 77th appearance; eight more will break the club record. Juan Pierre had six at-bats, giving him a season total of 622; he needs 45 more (somewhere between 11 and 13 games' worth) to break the club record in that category. He also needs 20 hits in the remaining 18 games to become the first Cub with a 200-hit season since Ryne Sandberg in 1984 (Derrek Lee missed by one last year).

Finally, in addition to the Smooth Jazz Man, who stopped by the LF corner to say hi and tell me about his Incident With Freddie, I also met loyal BCB reader Tim Rash, who wandered by just about the same time; we were all commiserating about the rotten play of this year and how bad the game was... and little did we know, we'd all be leaving seeing a Cubs victory.