So it wasn't enough that Aaron Rowand and Tadahito Iguchi used to torture the Cubs while they played with that South Side team -- now, both having been traded to the Phillies, and Iguchi having been there a grand total of three days, and knowing that their old team didn't do very well against the Cubs this year -- they both took it to Ted Lilly last night, hitting home runs (Rowand's a three-run job), and basically, that was that, as the Phillies, for a day at least, kept the Cubs from moving into first place in the NL Central with a 4-1 win.
Just a few notes from last night, and then I'm going to talk about other stuff, because really, despite being played in front of another huge crowd (41,686, and that gives the Cubs a shot at breaking the four-game series record that was set week-before-last) and on a gorgeous night, the game was pretty dull:
- The Cubs can't hit lefthanders. They're now 9-16 vs. LHP. This makes little logical sense, as, supposedly, the Cubs' offense is built around right-handed power hitters (Lee, Ramirez, Soriano). But it's a fact.
- Cole Hamels is really, really good. He kept the entire offense off-balance last night. Sometimes you just get beat by a better pitcher.
- Ronny Cedeno needs to learn how to take a pitch when he only gets one at-bat per game.
- A fan fell out of the seats -- ominously, just about in the "Bartman" location -- during the 8th inning. A security guard quickly helped him up and was getting ready to escort him off the field, when another security guard ran at the two of them, looking like he wanted to tackle both of them. The guy fell out of the seats accidentally, and credit to the Cubs for realizing this, because apparently they're not going to prosecute.
- The above-linked article also says that Jim Hendry has no intention of trading Felix Pie to anyone, and that Hendry really liked what he saw in Kerry Wood's last outing for Peoria last Friday. Wood, who was laughing with teammates during BP in the outfield last night and who looks almost too skinny, will throw tonight for Double-A Tennessee -- ironically, against the Cubs' former AA affiliate at West Tenn -- and if there aren't any problems, he'll be activated either Thursday or Friday.
- Which leads me to this note: Steve Phillips, on Baseball Tonight last night, proved once again why he's no longer a general manager. The BBTN crew was discussing Wood and how he might help the Cubs, and the general consensus seemed to be that IF healthy, Wood could be a real boost to what John Kruk termed a "deep" bullpen (and it is; last night they at least kept the Cubs in the game after Lilly had to be lifted after five innings and 97 pitches). But Phillips had to disagree, saying that the Cubs would have to make a roster move for Wood (Duh!) and if Wood wasn't healthy, they'd "lose a player". Wrong, Steve-o. When Wood's activated, Rocky Cherry will be optioned back to Iowa, where he can return at any time. If this is the way Phillips operated when he was Mets GM, no wonder they fired him.
What I wanted to talk about, and I see I've gone on longer than I really wanted to in the game notes, was BCB reader Dave -- sorry, I forgot your username! -- who sat with us last night and when I was just about to pass the pre-game time reading a magazine, pulled out his iPhone and let me fool around with it for a while. If you have not yet seen one of these and think it's overhyped -- and I did -- let me tell you, they are extremely cool. It's impossible to even describe all the cool features, but suffice to say that it can pull up nearly full-featured web pages, including BCB (I noticed that there were already 100 comments in the game thread in the 90 minutes between the time I left my house and the time I saw the thread on the iPhone); it runs video clips from YouTube and other sources; does email and text messaging (you can see full conversations, very cool), and -- oh, yes, it's a phone, too.
Here's where I think Apple has made its mistake: first, it's way too expensive. Dave bought the top model -- the $600 model. That's way too much for a first-generation piece of technology; clearly, version 2.0 is going to be far improved over the first model. And second, I already have an iPod, so the idea of buying the iPhone to replace a (fairly) expensive gadget I already have is another reason I haven't really thought about this. And finally, going with only one service provider cuts the rest of us, who don't want to switch, out. If they'd make a model that does everything except have the iPod, cut the price thereof to about $200, and sign up with other providers, I'd be first in line... because it is extremely cool.
And that was the most interesting thing about last night. Perhaps tonight will be better.
Finally, having thought about what the Cubs do or don't need to do to tweak the roster, and what they do or don't have to offer other teams, I'm firmly in the "do nothing today" camp. For discussion of any deals that might be made, or like the Braves' and Mets' deals that were made yesterday, use this diary that I posted earlier today for this purpose. I'll end by reminding everyone that the Cubs picked up a couple of useful parts in 2003 -- Randall Simon and Doug Glanville -- after August 1. Granted, those two guys weren't big deals, but both of them contributed down the stretch and in the postseason. Just because the calendar changes tomorrow doesn't mean the Cubs couldn't make a deal before August 31.