Before I mention last night's wicked weather conditions, a little lesson, kiddies.
One is good. Two is funny. Three is still... mostly funny. Even one of the Cubs chimed in:
"I thought it was hilarious," Ryan Theriot said. "I thought it was awesome. I actually was hoping it would kind of continue."
Well, yeah, sort of, Ryan. Fifteen isn't funny. What am I talking about? The 15 baseballs that were thrown back from the bleachers and the street after Adam Dunn's monster home run onto Sheffield off Kevin Hart in the 8th inning of the Cubs' 12-3 win over the Reds last night. Some of those balls weren't that far from hitting Cubs outfielders in the head (I can just see Kosuke Fukudome looking at this spectacle and thinking, "What the heck have I gotten myself into?").
Beyond that, as Mike quickly mentioned, "Do you all want the score of this game to be 9-0?" (That's the official score of a forfeit game, if you didn't know.) I don't think it ever got quite that far, but that is an option for umpires if they think behavior in the stands has gotten so out of hand that the Cubs couldn't control it and the game couldn't continue.
The bottom line is -- have fun. But don't get stupid, especially on a night when the Cubs did practically everything right. It was the first blowout win of the season, on an night when the wind was blowing out at near-gale force (the "official" wind speed was 14 MPH, but it was far stronger than that most of the night; I'd estimate gusts at over 35 MPH, strong enough to send trash flying through the bleachers and for the Cubs to not even put the retired number flags and team standing flags up).
The Cubs took the lead in the first inning off Josh Fogg (whose ERA, a bad 7.00 coming in, jumped to 13.09 after he allowed the first nine runs), hitting three doubles and a single sandwiched around a HBP to Aramis Ramirez. That's been one of the best things about many of the Cubs' offensive outbursts this year so far -- they've been done without home runs. Of the 13 Cub hits last night, only one -- Derrek Lee's sixth of the year, matching his total from the entire first half of 2007, was a home run. Apart from that, they had six walks (including getting the bases loaded on walks in the 9th off Reds closer Francisco Cordero, scoring on Soto's groundout), seven singles and five doubles, including a double laced down the line by Carlos Zambrano, who had his first three hits of the year.
Z's double was in the 7th, after the Cubs had an 11-2 lead; we were all surprised to see him stay in the game on the bases, since it was obvious that Kevin Hart was going to come in the game anyway. Why risk getting Z hurt? I thought that with the wind blowing at gale force, Z would be trying to hit every ball into Lake Michigan, but he had really good at-bats in raising his season average to .250 (3-for-12). He now has 16 career doubles.
The Cubs also got good performances out of Ryan Theriot (two hits, raising his average to .280), Geovany Soto (only one hit, but it was a two-run double, and he drove in another run on a groundout), Kosuke Fukudome (does he EVER have a bad game? Two hits and two walks), and a two-run double from Mark DeRosa.
The booing for former Cubs Corey Patterson and manager Dusty Baker subsided a bit last night as people were much more interested in reveling about the Cubs' fine evening. They'll go for the sweep this afternoon, when it'll be a little less windy. I'll have a separate game thread up in about three hours. Finally, David and I have an all-Fukudome selection of photos this morning:
Top to bottom: Kosuke Fukudome throws a ball to the RF bleacher fans in the 1st inning; Fukudome rounding first base on his 1st-inning double; Fukudome making a catch up close and personal with Reed Johnson; Mike Fontenot's over the shoulder catch near Fukudome (latter two both in the sixth inning). Click on photo to open a larger version in a new browser window. Photos by David Sameshima