Tuesday, September 09, 2003

My latest B&C blog:
August news in review and more:

-My B&C blog archive

Trimmed from my news in review:

- Sept. 11 to become volunteer day?

- Worm crawls Web

- Tickets nixed by bribed officer will be reinstated

- Pedophile priest kiled in prison

- Alcatraz anniversary (second item)

- 7-inch hailstone sets records

- First gay Episcopalian bishop confirmed

- 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand winds up in Japanese slaughterhouse

- First cloned horse created in Italy

- Record deficit forecasted

- Peddler of missile launcher parts arrested

- Chicago worker's shooting spree

- Madonna kisses Brittany

- American human shields in Iraq to face fine

- Columbia report released

- Peru report released

- Obit: Charles Bronson

Previous Timeline Extra

Chicago Beat
TIMELINE extra extra:
My inaugural Chicago sports month-in-review column, which may soon be picked up by the Chicago Sports Review:

Some eight hours after the first pitch, Aramis Ramirez slapped a single to score Sammy Sosa and the Cubs had a 4-3 win over Arizona. Their line was four runs, 13 hits, no errors, 14 innings, one three hour rain delay, one tying run scored from first by Aramis in the 11th inning, one bellyflop by a trespassing fan on the Wrigley tarp, and still three and half games behnd Houston.

And that was just the first day of August.

Sports, they always say, are a marathon, not a sprint. It's a cliche now, but no one was around to tell the original marathoner, Pheidippedes, who ran 26 miles to Marathonas to report Athens' upset of Persia, then dropped dead of exhaustion. At least he didn't have to endure a 162-game season.

But there was no slowing Mark Prior, who came back from injury last month in a furious chase for the Cy Young, winning five straight starts (including torchings of the Dodgers, Astros and Cards) with an E.R.A. at half the price of gas. Somebody tell him he has a whole career to collect a Cy or four. Would the formerly frenetic Kerry Wood have gotten to a thousand whiffs, as he did last month, without pacing himself?

The dog days of August, they call them, as a reminder that only idle days can bring about autumn. (Idle days? The Colts-Broncos preseason finale was the fourth-most watched television broadcast that week.) But the Sox weren't snoozing against the Yankees, roughing up the Rocket 13-2, following it up with an 11-spot the next day. (Then, putting the "dog" in "dog days," they lost in Detroit). You know, maybe it is a sprint. It was for that idiot father and son who charged the field at then-Comiskey last year (see, there is one way to get a decent view at that park); both were slapped on the wrist last month with probation.

Nah. It already looks like it's going to be a long season for the Bears, whose sluggish starters found but one sure way to get a first down in four desultory preseason games: kickoff returns. And for the Blackhawks, even though they finally signed Tuomo Ruutu. And for Maryland, toppled in Northern Illinois' third-ever victory over a ranked team.

Endurance? Who's hung in there more than Cubs fans, starved of glory for nearly a century now? We paid our respects last month to Claude Passeau, the Cubs pitcher who won Game 3 of the 1945 Series in Detroit, one night before William Sianis and his unwelcome Billy Goat put a hex on the team. But while you'll have to wait another 60,000 years for Mars to get as close to the Earth as it was in August, maybe you won't have to wait that long for the Cubs to get close to a championship. The way their team endured last month, Cubs fans started to hope that it would be Dusty Baker perched behind the postgame press conference mikes in November, rambling on in his trademark stream-of-consciousness, sound-bite defying replies. Just as well. If you're in for a marathon, it helps to be long-winded.

- Previous Chicago Beat

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