Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lake Effect

Don't tell me teams don't learn from experience. Last Wednesday's Cubs game ended in a loss, with Darwin Barney watching a third strike go by. Today's game also ended in a loss with Barney at the plate, but this time he grounded out to second. Clearly, this is a team on the move.

Today's exercise in frigid mediocrity was improved over last week's in other ways, though none of them really related to actions on the field. First, I was accompanied by Watson—at least until the wind got the better of her in the bottom of the fifth—and second we located the buffalo-style bison dog. Still no sign of the rumored kimchi dogs, but one thing at a time.

We also seized upon some Victoria beers, which have been trumpeted of late by the "Up and In" podcast boys. Victoria is better than your average Mexican beer and better than your average ballpark beer, I'll say that, but anyone who ranks it among their favorites simply doesn't drink enough good beer to judge. It's essentially a Vienna-style lager, big whoop. Much as I don't want to return to the Cell, I hear they're serving Goose Island taps this year....

Who cares?
On the field, the bright spots were the continuing resurgence of Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome started off with a bang in 2008, just as Watson and I moved to Chicago, and then turned into a weak old man for the next two seasons. This year—the last of his current contract and likely his last as a Cub—he's reverted to 2008 form, at least for the moment. Today, he went two-for-five from the leadoff spot and is batting .415. The top three or four slots (usually Fukudome, Barney, Starlin Castro, and Aramis Ramirez) are off to a pretty good start, all told. It's everyone after them that's ice cold. Amazingly, the Dodgers only slightly outhit the Cubs today, 11–10, while outscoring them 7–3.

Speaking of ice cold, you may or may not know that Wrigley Field is very near a large, air-temperature-inhibiting body of water called "Lake Michigan." The weather report insists it was about 55 at the park today. Bullshit.

The lake also helps sustain a sizable population of seagulls, who are legendary for divebombing the stadium as it empties, intent on hot dog scraps, nacho cheese, and whiny small children (I like to think). Here's one potential Amber Alert thug that visited the top deck late in the day:

Because today's game was essentially over after the top of the first—in which the Dodgers scored five runs off Cubs "ace" Carlos Zambrano—the birds started gathering early, in part to spend some quality time with their favorite local player:

birds with Byrd, Marlon

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