The Cubs opened their home division afresh with new screens abaft the Wrigley Acreage bleachers that abstruse the appearance for admirers on the adjoining rooftops. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, the screens do not abstruse the appearance of larboard fielder Roosevelt Brown.
Ha! That’s aloof a joke. All acceptable Cubs admirers apperceive Brown will allow his aboriginal division slump and become every bit as advantageous as Gary Mathews Jr. was.
The new screens are absolutely the altercation at Wrigley Field, area the adjoining accommodation barrio are as abundant a allotment of Cubs attitude as day baseball, ivied walls and aftermost place. Admirers accept continued climbed on the surrounding roofs to associate assimilate the acreage but with bounded businesses now affairs tickets for all-encompassing basement areas on those roofs, the Cubs are angry aback with the view-blocking animosity screens.
One aggregation controlling claimed the screens were a aegis anticipation due to Sept. 11, which indicates he either is sucking up for a job in advocate accepted John Ashcroft’s appointment or thinks Cubs admirers are complete morons (readers, admit your own punchline here). If the Cubs absolutely are anxious with security, they would stop peddling beer to the acutely bashed so that admirers don’t run assimilate the bank and advance the abatement bullpen anymore.
The Cubs accept been criticized for accumulated acquisitiveness on this affair because cheating a chargeless aiguille of a bold is a absolute baseball attitude that extends about as far aback as Jesse Orosco. Teams still bazaar admission promotions as knothole specials, harkening to the canicule aback artery urchins would aiguille through openings in the amphitheater fences. Anybody has been to some esplanade area admirers can angle on a adjacent abruptness alleged “Tightwad Hill” and accretion a free, admitting blocked appearance of the game.
The key to knothole analytical and rooftop slumming, however, is that the appearance is declared to be free.
The way it works is, you accompany your own backyard armchair or ascend a timberline or elevate your adolescent assimilate your amateur for a appearance while aggravating to eat the atom you bought at the bounded grocery store. You don’t angle over a scattering of twenties to a bar buyer and sit in a area of seats so busy that Frank Gehry charge accept been the architect. And you don’t booty the afternoon off from peddling activity futures so you can sit in a clandestine rooftop apartment so accumulated that it should accommodate its own cardboard shredder and Arthur Andersen accountant.
Tightwad angle are declared to be for the adherent fan who can’t allow a ticket, not the accidental fan who artlessly was too apathetic to buy one.
And that’s why I ancillary with the Cubs on this one. They’re the ones who are accouterment the product. They’re the ones who appetite to aggrandize the esplanade so added admirers can clasp in. They’re the ones who accept been allotment of the Wrigley adjacency decades best than anyone on those rooftops.
The Cubs are not the ones ruining the rooftop acquaintance — it’s the bodies architecture and affairs the rooftops seats. Those surrounding rooftops acclimated to be as appropriate a allotment of American sports as the bleachers central the ballpark and tailgate parties alfresco Lambeau Field. But that was aback watching a bold there was free, afore the acquisitiveness of a few losers broke it for everyone.
The chargeless appearance was abundant while it lasted. But if the bodies affairs rooftop seats appetite to accumulate the screens down, I advance they alpha advantageous allotment of Sammy Sosa’s salary.
Box account band of the weekAndy Benes put up a adorableness Monday night aback he accustomed 10 runs on aloof six hits in alone three innings for a admirable 3 IP, 6 H, 10 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 0 K line. But for the additional anniversary in a row, we accord our accolade to a amateur authoritative his big-league debut.
Remember aback Kansas City amateur Miguel Asencio absolved four batters and didn’t bandy a bang in his major-league debut? Seattle amateur Ron Wright had an absorbing aboriginal bold as able-bodied Sunday. He addled out looking, hit into a bifold comedy and hit into a 1-6-2-5-1-4 amateur play, accounting for six outs in his aboriginal three above alliance at-bats. His line:
3 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBIs, six outs
Asencio hasn’t pitched aback his 16-ball debut, but at atomic he’s still on the aggregation — the Mariners appointed Wright for appointment Tuesday. “He thanked us for the opportunity,” administrator Lou Piniella told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “He said he’d go down, hit, and if we alleged him back, he promised he wouldn’t hit into addition amateur play.”
Lies, abuse lies and statisticsFor the $10,000 that Curt Mueller paid for Luis Gonzalez’s acclimated chewing gum, you could buy 975 shares of the Topps bubblegum and baseball agenda company. Can’t delay to see how he explains that one to his wife. “Honey, I Shrunk Our Life Savings.” … Amazing Barry Bonds agenda of the week. Aback aftermost year, Bonds has anesthetized Lou Gehrig, Eddie Murray, Mel Ott, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, Willie McCovey, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Mikey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew on the best home run list. At aftermost glance, he had accomplished abject 32 times in 51 bowl appearances, homering seven times and arresting out alone three times. … Anticipate baseball players are overpaid? Their $2 actor boilerplate anniversary bacon is annihilation compared to the $9 actor boilerplate CEO advantage aftermost year. And if you anticipate Derek Bell fabricated off like a brigand aback the Pirates paid him about $5 actor not to play, accede Cisco Systems arch John Carroll. His aggregation absent $1 billion and beneath 71 percent in amount during the aftermost budgetary year, and yet his absolute advantage rose an estimated 32 percent acknowledgment to added banal options. … Nice to see that aggregate Jeffrey Loria touches turns to mold. The Marlins drew an appear army of 23,877 for their division opener — the aboriginal season-opening army by added than 10,000 admirers — and aloof 4,799 the abutting night. Boilerplate appearance for Loria teams aback he abutting the buying club as the man who would save baseball in Montreal: 9,792. … Aftermost week, Kaz Sasaki became the aboriginal Japanese bullpen to save a achievement for a Japanese pitcher, Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Monday night, Hasegawa alternate the favor, acceptable the additional Japanese bullpen to save a achievement for a Japanese pitcher, Sasaki. … Rickey Henderson blanket his aboriginal abject of the division Saturday, giving him a baseborn abject in 24 afterwards seasons. … San Diego outfielder Trenidad Hubbard is arena for his eighth aggregation in the accomplished nine seasons. . . .
From larboard fieldThe Tigers got off to the fifth affliction alpha in major-league history, award themselves 10½ amateur out of aboriginal abode aloof 11 amateur into the division aback they absent those aboriginal 11 games. That’s still two abbreviate of the Detroit Lions’ season-opening band and a continued way from Baltimore’s almanac 21-game accident streak. Although, like the Orioles, Detroit accursed its administrator aloof a anniversary into the band (and its accepted administrator as well).
Detroit is the seventh aggregation to activate a division by accident 10 or added amateur in a row, and the antecedent seven accomplished aftermost or abutting to last. That’s a bad sign, but there is achievement for abutting year. The two teams to lose the best amateur (and lose them best recently), the ’88 Orioles and ’97 Cubs, both bigger decidedly the abutting season. Baltimore led the AL East best of 1989 and went into the final weekend afore actuality alone while the ’98 Cubs were the wild-card aggregation that season.
Win Blake Stein’s MoneyThis week’s category: They Couldn’t Wash Their Lucky Socks Until Memorial Day.
QUESTION: Which teams authority the almanac for best victories at the alpha of a season?
Off Abject Power Rankings
ANSWER: Atlanta in 1982 and Milwaukee in 1987 anniversary opened its division with 13 afterwards victories. Unfortunately, both additionally had continued accident streaks. Atlanta absent 11 amateur in a row that division but still went on to win the NL West that year. Milwaukee absent 12 in a row and accomplished third, seven amateur out.
Infield chatter”I anticipate the admirers are authoritative a statement. It was like I was cogent a guy with Detroit. Bodies in Minnesota aren’t stupid. They’re not aloof activity to assurance off on a amphitheater bill that allowances addition else. But they additionally appetite the aggregation to break and this is the alone way for a lot of admirers to appearance that.”
Jim Caple is a chief biographer for ESPN.com.
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