My apologies to readers who visited The Bread Line looking for commentary about former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich being ordered to stay in the United States as he awaits trial on criminal corruption charges rather than be allowed to travel to Costa Rica to participate in an NBC reality TV show. My Internet server wasn’t at its best while I was home yesterday, and last night I was at Wrigley Field watching the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2. I will write about Blagojevich later, including my review of the Second City spoof “Rod Blagojevich Superstar,” which I saw last weekend.
But first things first: The Cubs looked good Tuesday night, remembering how to hit and pitch like a team expected to win its division. Micah Hoffpauir hit a solo homer and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, but the rookie and his .375 batting average will be back to bench-warming duty when Milton Bradley returns to the lineup tonight. Rich Harden pitched well, striking out eight batters while allowing just three hits and two walks in six innings. I probably saw right-handed relief pitcher Luis Vizcaino’s last appearance for the Cubs, too, as he is expected to be designated for assignment Thursday to make room on the roster for Jeff Samardzija.
It was a fun night to be in the left-field bleachers. (I think the cold and wet weather dampened the drunkeness of the bleacher bums.) Cubs left-fielder Alfonso Soriano obviously enjoys the attention he gets out there, gesturing to fans and tossing a baseball into the stands before the start of each inning. As for the Reds’ left-fielder, rookie Chris Dickerson was showered with harmless taunting from the fans all night. My favorite fan chant was “Fee, fi, fo, fum, Dickerson’s a stinkin’ bum!”
The fans around me were annoying when they chanted “Bartman!” at a fan who caught a foul ball along the left-field foul line in the fourth inning, even though location was just about the only thing in common between that play and the infamous foul-ball incident involving a fan in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series. Soriano had no chance at catching that foul ball last night. Moises Alou had a better chance of catching the foul ball in the 2003 NLCS, even though years later Alou admitted he wouldn’t have caught it. (Recall that Alou threw a hissy fit in the outfield, unnerving the Cubs enough for them to blow the game and the series. When Alou and others cast blame on the fan, they ruined the reputation of the fan, who still unfairly gets blamed for the team’s 2003 postseason choke.)
Also in the fourth inning of last night’s game, a calico cat made an unexpected appearance in the outfield, delaying the game for a few minutes. Official word is it was a stray cat that found its way into the ballpark, though I’m skeptical about the veracity of that story. But at least it wasn’t a black cat.
Time to watch Game 2 of the Cubs-Reds series.