The big question of the day, one that will be answered shortly, is how the most loyal/obnoxious fans in sports will greet the hated former St. Louis Cardinal Jim Edmonds as he steps to the plate for the first time wearing a Cubs uniform.
Who's next, Steve Garvey?
Edmonds, a Gold Glover and World Series champion in a previous life, was hitting .178 before the Padres released him. Cubs GM Jim Hendry stepped in, snatched him up and here we are -- a moment many of us could never envision: Jim Edmonds in a Cubs uniform (wearing No. 15, by the way).
I suspect most Cubs fans don't like this move. I've heard some people, in an attempt to be the voice of reason, mention Dennis Rodman. The difference is Rodman was in his prime, stepped in for the treasonous Horace Grant and helped the Bulls to three more titles. Maybe a more apt comparison is John Starks, remember him? The former kneeing Knicks off guard spent part of the 2000 season with the Bulls, most of it pouting at home before Jerry Krause released him too late for him to be eligible for another team's playoff roster.
For a Cubs comparison, there's Gary Gaetti, whom the Cubs signed in 1998 and wrung the last drippings of any productivity out of en route to the National League Wild Card. But I don't remember anyone ever hating Gaetti when he was a Cardinal.
I'm sure there will be some boos when he steps to the plate for the first time. (And I'm sure if he hits, those boos quickly will vanish quicker than those calling for Alfonso Soriano's benching.) But I think it's time to get over it. I mean, Edmonds and Carlos Zambrano appear to have put aside and hugged it out in the clubhouse today. Everyone else should do the same.
Today's lineups. Some guy name Greg Maddux goes for the Padres against the once resurgent but now scuffling a bit Ryan Dempster. Dempster's 0-1 in his last two starts. And so much for Soriano stinking up the joint.
Baseball soon on Jim Edmonds day.
It's 54 freakin' degrees here in mid-may and Jody Gerut, who's from Elmhurst or some place, grounds to first on the first pitch. Derrek Lee makes a nice play to get the first out. Tadahito Iguchi -- The Gooch is back! -- lines out to Soriano. Brian Giles singles to right and each Padre yet far has hit the ball hard. Dempster fans Adrian Gonzalez to end the top half of the first.
Maddux v. Soriano. Soriano has a two-game leadoff homer streak going. Soriano lines the first pitch to center for a single. Theriot bounces into a 6-4-3 double play. Lee grounds out to third and Maddux sits the Cubs down on four pitches and there was a hit in there, too.
No score (do you see any bold type?)
Forgot to mention the wind: It's blowing in at 10 mph from the ENE, which means it's blowing off the lake, which means it's blowing straight in from center. Kelly ... Kelly Moore! Kevin Kouzmanoff chases a breaking ball in the dirst for strike three. Khalil Greene, the only Baha'i I know of in the majors, lines out to Ronny Cedeno at second. Paul McAnulty flies out to Edmonds in shallow center. There he is, everyone. Dempster with a nine-pitch inning, nearly as economical as Maddux.
Ramirez shoots a leadoff double past the first baseman Gonzalez. Kosuke Fukudome moves Ramirez along to third with a grounder to the right side. Edmonds steps up to a nice hand. Some stand and some shirtless with his last name spelled out on their chests. Puddy, is that you? Hardly a boo there. I think everyone's opinion changed once they saw him in a Cubs uniform. Maddux's pitch sails to the backtop, Ramirez comes home but the ball bounces hard off the bricks right back to the catcher and Ramirez is out easily. Edmonds then singles to right. Cheers all around from the fans at Wrigley. All is forgiven. How cute. Cedeno singles back up the middle; Edmonds stops at second. Henry Blanco used to be Maddux's personal catcher, so he gets the start today. Will that pay off? I'm sure it's a lot easier catching Maddux than hitting him. Not that catching at any level is easy. Gerut robs Blano of a hit and RBI with a charging, diving catch of a sinking liner to center to end the second.
Luke Carlin takes a called third strike on a backdoor slider from Dempster. Maddux bounces out to third. Gerut grounds out to short to end an eight-pitch inning for Dempster.
Dempster rolls out to third, lumbers down the line and is thrown out easily, despite Len Kaspers sarcastic yelps of "Come on, Ryan!" Soriano grounds to third, as well. I think Kouzmanoff is set over there. Try someone else. Maddux strikes out Theriot looking and we're really moving along here.
Nothing to report
Damn the insert key to hell! What's the point of that thing? Who uses that? And who thought it would be a good idea to put it next to the backspace key? Somewhere in Alabama Mark Prior is having his shoulder prodded, while up yonder, north of the Mason-Dixon Line, The Gooch grounds out to short. Giles takes a called third. Dempster fans Gonzalez and we've found ourselves in the midst of a good ol' fashioned pitching duel, y'all.
Lee grounds out to third. I thought I said Kouzmanoff is set on groundballs over there. Ramirez rips a single back up the middle, right through Maddux's five hole. Dangerous. Fukudome singles to center. Edmonds bounces into a 6-4-3, inning-ending double play and that draws a few boos.
Kouzmanoff flies out to Fukudome in the right-field corner. Greene pops out to shallow right. Lotta kids in attendance today. What's the deal? No school? McAnulty grounds to the right side, past Lee, but Cedeno is there and he flips to Dempster covering the bag to end the top half of the fifth. Thrill a minute here in this one.
Cedeno dribbles a single through the hole on the right side. With Cedeno running, Blanco bloops a single to right. Cedeno takes third. Check out Mr. Textbook, Henry Blanco. Dempster is not bunting Blanco to second. No, he's fouling one off his foot. Check that, he's singling to left, driving home Cedeno with the game's first run. First and second for Soriano, who singles sharply to left to load 'em up. Theriot drives home Blanco with flyball to right. First and second and one out for Lee, who's hitless in two at-bats. No longer: Lee doubles to the left-field gap on a 3-1 pitch and that scores both runners. Padres manager Bud Black yanks Maddux, who gets a standing ovation from the Wrigley Field crowd as he walks off after giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings. Double switch: Lefty Sean Henn on to pitch; Scott Hairston in to play left and bat ninth; Paul McAnulty takes a seat. Ramirez flies out to right. The Padres put Fukudome on and that brings up Edmonds with two on and two outs. Edmonds flies out to center.
Cubs 4, Padres 0
What's the deal again with Dempster's fancy glove twirl? I heard Len Kasper say once it's because he starts every pitch with a split-finger grip, but why the theatrics? Anyway, it's working. Luke Carlin strikes out swinging. Scott Hairston flies out to center. Gerut walks. Iguchi takes a called third on the outside corner and I feel a reboot coming on.
That was painful. Love the IE. But we're back. Cedeno, who's 2-for-2 today, works the count full and fouls a few back. He walks. Blanco flies out to left. Dempster bunts and then tries to dive on the ball like it's a live grenade. He bunted right in front of the plate, kind of stumbled and blocked catcher Luke Carlin's path to the ball. Carlin then bumped a belly-flopping Dempster to the ground. It moved Cedeno to second but now everyone in the Cubs dugout is laughing. Everyone except Dempster, who's having none of it. C'mon, buddy, give us some of that Harry Caray. No? Soriano strikes out and we move to the seventh.
Cubs 4, Padres 0
Giles single to right and he now has both of the Padres' hits. Gonzalez bounces to first and Lee decides to step on the bag rather than throw down to second. Kouzmanoff grounds to short, Giles retreats to second and Theriot throws out the runner at first. Greene fans on a full-count pitch in the dirt and here's former talkshow host Phil Donahue to sing TMOTTBG. Phil Donahue? Where's this guy been?
Jason Isringhausen just gave up a three-run homer to pinch hitter Jason Bay in the eighth inning to give the Pirates an 8-5 lead over Jim Edmonds former team. Theriot strikes out swinging. Lee singles to center. Ramirez singles to left, Lee to second, the innings are fixed above (sorry about that) and seriously does anyone want to hear about Phil Donahue's experience blowing out a hammy at some baseball fantasy camp? Bob Brenly made the mistake of asking him about growing up in Cleveland and going to old Municipal Stadium. Make him stop talking! Fukudome draws a walk to load the bases for Edmonds. Edmonds strikes out and that draws more boos. They're certainly not yelling "Dona-hue!" Cedeno drives it deep to right. That sends Giles back. He turns one way, turns the other and then makes a basket catch at his waist back-pedaling on the warning track. It almost looked like he opened up his waistband and caught it in his pants, which would've been quite impressive.
Cubs 4, Padres 0
Tony Clark hits for Henn and singles past a diving Cedeno. Scott Eyre and Bob Howry get up in the pen. Carlin strikes out for the third time. Dempster gets Hairston, too. That's 10 strikeouts for Dempster on 99 pitches. Gerut singles to right; Clark stops at second. Iguchi goes down swinging.
Justin Germano is the new Padres pitcher. Blanco grounds out to short and Lou Piniella's going to let Dempster try and finish this one. Dempster pops it up in the middle of the infield and Germano takes it himself but nearly falls off the back of the mound in the process. Germano strikes out Soriano swinging.
Cubs 4, Padres 0
Dempster faces Giles, Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff in the ninth. Giles leads off with a double to left. Dempster falls behind Gonzalez 2-0 but comes back to strike him out. Piniella trots out to the mound. The fans boo. Lou says a few words and retreats back to the dugout to a serenade of cheers. Kouzmanoff singles to right, Giles to third and Lou pops right out of the dugout like Larry Rothschild stuck him with a pin. Dempster gets a standing O and many high fives as he exits. Enter Kerry Wood. Wood strikes out the Baha'i Spicoli, Khalil Greene. Josh Bard hits and Kouzmanoff takes second without drawing a throw. Wood gets two strikes on Bard and now everyone in their feet. Strike three right down the middle and this one's over.
Final: Cubs 4, Padres 0
Ryan Dempster tosses a gem, Greg Maddux can't get out of the fifth and the Cubs take three of four from the Padres. The Cubs won despite Jim Edmonds. Thanks for reading, everyone.