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Be Careful What You Myspace

The Cubs' winning streak ended today -- sort of; they split two games, with the loss ending first, so they've also begun a new winning streak of one.

The "B" squad lost to the Rangers 11-9 in Surprise today in front of 6,468. Meanwhile, 8,513 (and a TV audience in Chicago on CSN) watched most of the regulars defeat the Padres 10-6 in a game that ended when the umpires, probably running late for dinner dates, decided to call a double play when a Padres runner ran out of the baseline.

But that's not what I want to write about this evening (I'll add a few game notes at the end of this post).

In the comments on today's open game thread, someone had discovered that Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy (who started the game, thus the interest in him) has a Myspace page. I hate loading those pages, because they always start playing music even if you don't want them to, and most of them have the ugliest layouts and backgrounds of any web page you can imagine, making them almost completely unreadable.

Anyway, if you scroll down the comments left on McCarthy's page, you'll find a racist photograph that was found (I know this because the link is prominently displayed on the photo) on a site that I won't even give the dignity of a link (and don't come back here and blame me if you load the page. It is definitely NSFW). That's bad enough -- and it's worse when you discover that the photo was posted by one of McCarthy's teammates, relief pitcher C. J. Wilson, who has his own Myspace page (one of those that is nearly unreadable due to his choice of the Rangers logo and the dark blue color as his background.

At the risk of sounding like a hopelessly out-of-touch curmudgeon...

What the heck are these guys thinking???

It's an interesting coincidence that just today, in the Chicago Tribune, appeared a column by Kathleen Parker warning people of McCarthy and Wilson's generation that stuff they post on the Internet can indeed come back and bite them in the butt when they're looking for work:

The MySpace-Facebook-dot-com generation has come of age, and some are finding that their silly stunts have come back to haunt them as they enter the grown-up marketplace. Others are finding that their private moments are not so private after all.

Three young women featured anonymously in a recent Washington Post article told horror stories of their attempts to find jobs, only to discover that they may have been disqualified by online postings by virtual strangers. Gossip and graphics included.

One, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate and Yale law student who had gotten articles published in law journals, interviewed at 16 firms for a summer job and received no offers. How could that be?

It turned out that she and others had been discussed in not-so-flattering terms on an online message board, AutoAdmit, which is run by a third-year law student at the University of Pennsylvania and a 23-year-old insurance agent, according to the Post. The board boasts as many as 1 million visitors per month, and postings can be anonymous.

Exactly. But people only think such things are anonymous. It's not that difficult to deduce supposedly incognito online identies. Many people create online "personas" for themselves, and wouldn't dream of acting in real life as they do on a website. But that's not how real life works, as those Yale law students learned. What you say and do online is you -- for better or for worse. I put my real name on this site, and I think anyone here who has met me in person would agree that I'm exactly the same in "real life" as I am here.

Those who choose to act otherwise may reap what they sow. I'm not often a fan of Ozzie Guillen's antics, but he may have been right when he recently ripped McCarthy for his attitude when he was a member of the White Sox.

The point here is -- watch what you do online. You never know who's watching.

As for McCarthy -- he talks a big game, but doesn't seem to back it up with performance. Today, Matt Murton and Koyie Hill homered off him, and he wound up giving the Cubs seven hits, a walk and five runs in two innings of work, and that's without Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones or Michael Barrett in the lineup. Oddly, C. J. Wilson also wound up in this game -- and also allowed a HR, to last year's #1 pick, Tyler Colvin.

I'm thinking McCarthy and Wilson might have more to worry about tonight than how many runs they allowed, too.

Of the 11 runs the Cubs allowed the Rangers in the Surprise game, only four were earned. Ronny "See You In Iowa" Cedeno made two errors, making all four runs off Neal Cotts unearned, and non-roster pitcher Randy Wells' fielding error made all three of his runs unearned as well.

Meanwhile, in Mesa the Cubs had 17 hits, including Ramirez' first HR of the spring. Soriano continued to look a little lost in CF, and Buck Coats lost two catchable balls in LF, hurting his dark-horse chances of making the roster as a supersub. Rich Hill had the ball up in the zone quite a bit, but got away with it; he didn't walk anyone and allowed only one run in his three innings. Cubs pitchers combined for nine strikeouts and only one walk, which ought to please Lou Piniella.

Tomorrow's game against the Royals (we'll see Mark Prior throw in relief) is on CSN Chicago and WGN radio. Till then.

UPDATE [2007-3-9 19:37:48 by Al]: Deadspin has some spin on this issue tonight.

Update [2007-3-10 8:32:58 by Al]: Based on some conversations both here and at Lone Star Ball on this topic, I have changed the title of this post to something less inflammatory. I hope that helps frame this issue in better terms. I did not intend to imply that C. J. Wilson is a racist, and I apologize if I have done so.