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Soriano To Hit Leadoff

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That's the only real news, and the best news, to come out of today's disastrous 8-2 Cub loss to the Brewers, dropping the Cubs' record to 0-2 for the first time since 2001. (The good news is, if this team replicates what that one did, the 2001 Cubs won 12 of their next 15 and got into contention.)

I know this because Lou Piniella announced it at his postgame press conference, live on WGN radio, heard as I was driving home. He was asked if Soriano would be "left there", and without specifically saying so, he pretty much indicated that yes, he would.

Soriano had another bad day, coming up three times with runners on base (first base in the third and fifth, first and second in the seventh), and two out, and making the third out each time.

The first two times, he could have put the Cubs back in the game, as they trailed only 1-0 in the third, and 4-1 in the fifth. By the seventh, at 5-2, it was beginning to get out of hand, and the Brewers pushed across three runs in the 8th and 9th off Piggy and Bob Howry (who looks lost out there so far this year), and the 8-2 score doesn't really indicate that the Cubs played reasonably well up to the sixth inning, when a Geovany Soto throwing error and a Kevin Hart wild pitch punctuated a really bad inning.

Let the record show that the very first, but probably not the last, Hart-to-Hart matchup (Kevin vs. Corey) resulted in a walk. Corey scored after stealing two bases off Soto, who's not looking good so far behind the plate, though he hit his first HR of the year today. Derrek Lee also homered, to left field. I got an email from Tyler Bleszinski, proprietor of the SBN site Athletics Nation during the game, congratulating me on catching the Lee HR, which I didn't. I told him the HR was two sections over from us -- to which Blez replied, "Damn, Al, you have a wicked doppelganger out there. Dude looked just like you." There's also some conversation about this at Viva El Birdos.

I have met Blez on a couple of occasions, so he knows exactly what I look like. Scary thought, that there's a clone of me and he was in the bleachers today.

Anyway, those HR were the sum of the Cub offense; Mark DeRosa hit into a DP, ruining one inning, and for some inexplicable reason, Aramis Ramirez was running on a 3-2 pitch to Kosuke Fukudome, and even the slow-armed Jason Kendall could throw him out after Dome struck out. Ramirez had walked after D-Lee's HR and I thought maybe the Cubs might have mounted a comeback in that inning. It got worse when DeRosa, the next hitter, doubled, which would have driven in Ramirez and made the score 3-2 and maybe gotten some early action in the Brewer bullpen.

When Ted Lilly -- who at least didn't slam his glove down when Rickie Weeks hit the first pitch of the game about 40 feet directly over our heads onto Waveland -- got into trouble, Jon Lieber got up several times in the bullpen. Why get your long man up that many times if you're not going to use him? Today would have been a perfect time for Lieber to throw a couple of innings, instead of using four guys that you might need tomorrow.

By the seventh inning, there seemed to be more people in the sunny bleachers than there were in the entire rest of the ballpark; when we lost the sun as it dipped behind the upper deck, we all abandoned the LF corner and moved over to right field, still in the sun (yes, it makes a HUGE difference when the temperature is still only in the 40's).

BCB readers drewishdrewid and also Drew (from Rockford) and his girlfriend sat with us today, an entire "Drew" section, and BCB reader steinmer stopped by to say hi.

Notes: sculptor Lou Cella came down to the ballpark early in the morning and carved an apostrophe on the Ernie Banks statue, where it had earlier read "LETS PLAY TWO". I don't have a photo of the new version, but here's one that David took the other day before it was unveiled, where you can see the lack of punctuation:

LETS PLAY TWO
as always, click on photo to open larger version in a new window. Photo by David Sameshima

Incidentally, this is a good spot to announce that David has accepted my offer to be placed on the masthead as the Official Photographer of BCB. In the future I'll set him up so he can post photos himself; I hope in that way we can get many more photos here at the new BCB. His BCB user name is "holymackerel". And in one more site note, I may not have time to read through every comment in the two game threads. Please let me or Trei know if there were any problems today.

Onward to tomorrow, when Ryan Dempster will attempt to help the Cubs salvage one game out of this series, and we'll have a new leadoff man (didn't I tell you that Soriano would wind up there?).

Last September, I started posting my scorecards and a lot of you seemed to like that. Finally had time to get around to scanning the one from Monday, and also today's (Monday's may be a little hard to read because it got wet):

Scorecard from Monday, March 31, 2008

Scorecard from Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Note: I have two extra bleacher tickets for tomorrow's game, price $22 each. If you want them, email me using the link on the left sidebar. I'll meet you at the ballpark

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Finally, if you look around some of the streets a couple of blocks south of Wrigley Field, you'll see cars and billboards from the era around the 1930's. The movie "Public Enemies", to star Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, among others, is filming in the neighborhood. Rumor has it that Depp's been spotted, so if you're in the area, keep your eyes open. You might just see him around. If only he could pitch.