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I Hate San Diego

Oh, not the city -- it's a great place for a vacation.

No, it's their their damned baseball team.

From this game to this game (after that one, some friends of mine had nails thrown at them by some lovely Padres fans) to this game, which I had driven down from Los Angeles to see, and in which Greg Maddux hit his first major league home run and the Cubs lost anyway, San Diego has been a house of horrors for the Cubs, whether the stadium was called "San Diego Stadium", "Jack Murphy Stadium", "Qualcomm Stadium", or the new place, Petco, which seems to have walls 5,000 feet away for Cub hitters, but -- at least for the last two days -- has been easily reachable for Padres batters.

Last night it was Kevin Kouzmanoff, who the Padres thought highly enough of to deal off Josh Barfield for him last year, and who has been off to a terrible start, smashing a home run halfway to La Jolla, and that's all the Padres needed in their 2-1 win.

I got this email this morning from BCB reader San Diego Smooth Jazz Man, who has lived in SD for more than 20 years:

Just in case anybody writes you, and says I posted a Cubs/Pads ticket for Thursday, if anybody wants it (Face value, 48-bucks) you can give them my address.

If I don't have to go to a sweep, and somebody wants the ticket, it's theirs. The seat is similar to the pix I sent you. I'd rather take the cash and go to a game in LA.

It is going to be a sweep. This is San Diego. I cannot be optimistic here, I have way too much scar tissue regarding Cubs baseball in this town.

Pretty depressing, right? I wrote him back and told him that if he doesn't go and the Cubs DO win tonight, that he can't ever go to another game in San Diego. The seat, incidentally, is about 20 rows behind the first-base dugout. Email me if you want it and I'll put you in touch with SDSJM.

Sean Marshall threw a nice game last night; he made only the one mistake, really, the HR to Kouzmanoff. According to Paul Sullivan in today's Tribune, Lou Piniella's visit to Marshall on the mound was the inevitable kiss of death:

The Cubs were leading 1-0 with a man on first and one out in the seventh when Piniella visited the mound to see if Marshall was tiring.

"I was yelling, 'You just jinxed him, Lou,'" said winning pitcher David Wells, who called Piniella's visit "the kiss of death."

Two pitches later, Marshall served up a two-run homer to rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff that gave the Padres all the runs they would need.

"I said I was feeling good, feeling strong," Marshall said. "I told him I was going to give him my double play pitch, but I left it up and he hit it out of the park, unfortunately."

If Marshall can pitch this way every time out, he's going to win a lot of major league games. He looked far more polished last night than he did in 2006; he kept the Padres off balance most of the night, and threw strikes (63 in 105 pitches, and struck out eight). Because the game was played in a snappy 2:18, and I didn't have to get up for work today, I got to see the whole thing, including some brief excitement in the 9th when Mark DeRosa missed hitting a game-tying HR by only a couple of feet.

This seems to be the way this season is going -- missing by only a couple of feet. Lou says it's not early any more, and he's right. It's Memorial Day on Monday, one of the first season benchmarks.

But with 118 games remaining, there's still plenty of time to right this ship. It had better, however, start now.

Due to the late start I was able to get out early and see "The Valet", an amiable little French comedy about a billionaire CEO who doesn't want his wife to know about his supermodel girlfriend, so he sets her up living with a parking valet who just happens to be in a photo of the two of them (the CEO and the supermodel) taken by a paparazzi. The inevitable mixups occur, but the characters are well drawn and the dialogue is much more interesting than you might expect in what might well be termed a "farce". MiniRating: three stars.