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368-foot slam

(July 12)

Short Take:  What, no wall weeds?

There is an old saying that goes "you get what you pay for."  In the case of Jerry Manuel's line up for Thursday's game against the Cubs, the phrase should be "you get what you PLAY for."  A punchless line up decimated by injuries and dull thinking inevitably loses this game, 5-1 to the Baby Bears.

How did we ever score one?

Jerry Manuel pulled out the motivational stunts, conducting pre-game practice at Comiskey Park, then boarding a bus for the 8-mile trip north to the ivy-covered doll house.  No word on whether any Sox player suffered a nosebleed.  Just like it was Whitney Young versus Lane Tech, the Sox arrived less than an hour before game time.  The ballpark, in fact, features high school-sized dimensions.

For Manuel, the creativity ended there.  The hamstring injury to "heart and soul" Jose Valentin forced Manuel to play Royce Clayton and slot him #8 in the line up.  So how does Manuel compensate for the loss of power?  He benches Jose Canseco and leaves Jeff Liefer, and Mark Johnson, two left-handed bats, out of the line up, too.  The bottom-half of the Sox line up looked like Death Valley.  The game was practically over before it started.

The Sox fought valiantly.  Special mention goes to starter Kip Wells who pitched through numerous jams, and Chris Singleton for coming in spikes-high at third base--payback for Eric Young spiking Royce Clayton while being out by four feet attempting to steal second base.  Eric needs to be "loose" in the batter's box Friday.

It was Singleton too, that doubled home the lone Sox run of the game, tying it at 1-1.  The Cubs had broken on top in the third inning on a Sammy Sosa sacrifice to right field, and yes, he did his homerun hop.  Pretty weak, Sammy.

Scoring opportunities for the Sox went by the boards in third, fourth, and seventh innings.  Lead-off man Ray Durham reached base once and struck out twice.  Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, and Paul Konerko, the #3-#5 hitters, were a combined 0 for 11 with 5 strikeouts.  Way to work the count, guys!  They left the bases loaded in the sixth and got nothing but the one run Singleton provided.

Jon Garland got the call from the bullpen for the eighth inning and promptly got in trouble, walking the lead-off man on five pitches.  One out later, Bob Howry came in, allowed another sacrifice and loaded the bases with an intentional walk.  

Here's a bit of comfort to draw from that 368-foot grand slam, Sox Fans.  First, there isn't another ballpark in America pretending to be "major league" that Ricky Gutierrez's pop-fly is anything but a routine out.  Carlos Lee was literally camped under it when in nestled above his head in the left field basket.  A play reminiscent of the infamous "wall weeds" ground-rule double in 1998 that cost the Sox a victory, the "Bozo Buckets" grand slam will also live on as proof positive that stuff happens.

A bit more comfort, too.  Li'l Ricky did his little homerun dance the moment he stepped out of the batter's box.  He was trying to get under a pitch and knew he had accomplished it.  Of course hitting a cheap dinger has been the M.O. of every Cubs mediocrity holding a bat since 1938 when the dinky power alleys were created in this monstrosity.  Mighty Ricky nearly swallowed his heart when he saw how close that ball came from being an out.  Those upper cut swings lead to careless and sloppy at-bats later in the season.  Everyone tries to be the hero within the urine stench of Wrigley Field.

Needless to say that dose of reality was lost on the dolts in the stands cheering for a curtain call and the morons in the dugout who joined the celebration.  No way these pseudo-celebrities win a championship.  This crap always catches up with the Flubbies.

It will all come back to haunt the dim-witted Chicago Cubs and their genius fans.  It just wasn't to be this day.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Kip Wells

5.2 innings, a two-hit shutout, striking out five against three walks.  He also got one of the anemic Sox line up's six hits.  Pretty pathetic.

Play WSI's Pick to Click Contest!

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