We're going to try our hardest to channel the ghost of Old Tomato Face himself, Cubs Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett, as the Cubs and Yankees get it on in a rematch of the 1938 World Series--or as some might call it: Jeter vs. The Cheater.
No surprise that the Yanks swept that one, and, despite an appearance in the '45 Classic, it was all downhill from there for the Cubbies.
Game time is 2:20 p.m. Carlos Zambrano goes against South Side favorite David Wells and we promise no cork jokes. Well, maybe just a few.
The lineups are in:
With the lefty Wells on the mound for the Yankees, Dusty Baker goes to his B team: Ramon Martinez at second and leading off for Mark Grudzielanek, which is great since I won't have to type that name again, and Eric Karros at first and batting sixth for the left-handed hitting Hee Seop Choi. Switch-hitter Mark Bellhorn gets a rare start, these days, at third.
In case you haven't heard, which would be pretty hard considering you've seen the front of the site, Sammy Sosa has been suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball for wearing that silly knit cap during batting practice. While his appeal is processed, he will be allowed to play in this series and will bat fourth today.
The Yankees' lineup is familiar to all: Frankie Crosetti leading off, followed by Red Rolfe, Tommy Henrich and then the big three: DiMaggio, Gehrig and Dickey...wait, that's 1938. Near Cub Alfonso Soriano starts things off, followed by Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Robin Ventura, Raul Mondesi, Hideki Matsui, Juan Rivera, John Flaherty and Wells.
There's a steady rain falling in Chicago right now and the tarp is still on the field. Looks like well have a delay. Somewhere there's a guy kicking himself for paying $1,500 a ticket.
It's official: We are now in a rain delay and Fox has switched to its gruesome blooper show, "You Gotta See This" --- aka skateboarders neutering themselves on railings. What ever happened to "This Week in Baseball" reruns? TWIB notes!
The grounds crew is slowly rolling up the tarp. Game on. We hope.
A number of readers with tickets to tomorrow's game have written in expressing concern they'll miss Roger Clemens' bid for No. 300 in the chance this game is rained out. I've been studying the radar for the last hour, and I think they'll get this in. Don't hold me to that. I'm not Tom Skilling.
After a 90-minute rain delay, Don Zimmer's triumphant return to Wrigley Field is under way. Zambrano delivers the first pitch to Soriano at the traditional start time of 3:49 p.m. Soriano grounds the second pitch to Bellhorn at third. Jeter is greeted by boos. What a strange sight seeing Jeter hitting with the brick backstop behind him. There's a real buzz in the park. Jeter draws a walk. Giambi takes a giant cut at the first pitch and misses. And then comes right back and jacks one the other way for a two-run homer. ... Ventura lines a single to center. Mondesi flies to left and the inappropriately nicknamed Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui dribbles one to Zambrano to end the inning.
Yankees 2, Cubs 0
Ramon Martinez pops to Jeter and then Alex Gonzalez grounds out to the Yankee shortstop. Corey Patterson gives it a ride to deep left but Rivera hauls it in on the warning track.
Zambrano gets two guick outs as Juan Rivera and John Flaherty ground out. Wells steps in for his seventh career at-bat and let's just say footage of his first swing will not be making its way to Cooperstown. He's laughing. Hey, he does make contact, on a comebacker to Zambrano. Quick second inning.
Corky Romano lines Wells' first pitch up the middle for the Cubs' first hit. And fellow Pepsi spokesmen and Everest summiteers, Sosa and Giambi, share a laugh at first. ... Alou goes down swinging. ... Karros lines one to left and Sosa has to stop at second. Now Jeter chats up Sammy. ... Bellhorn grounds weakly to Jeter, who flips to Soriano. But that's it. Bellhorn runs too well for them to turn two. ... Zambrano hits the first pitch back to Wells and the Cubs strand two runners.
Soriano rips one down the left-field line, but Alou hustles over and holds Soriano to a single. ... Jeter lays down a great bunt, Bellhorn charges, bare-hands and throws it in the VIP seating section beyond the visitors' dugout. Soriano goes to third. Great play by Jeter; not so great by Bellhorn. ... Giambi flies to Patterson in center and Soriano tags and scores; Jeter bluffs but stays put at first. ... Ventura works the count 2-2 and Jeter takes off. Damian Miller's throw sails right into the sliding player. Two outs. Ventura then walks. ... Mondesi, who criminally makes more money than the injured Bernie Williams at $13,000,000 per, earns a few nickels there with a two-out double. ... After walking Matsui intentionally to load the bases, Zambrano gives up a two-run single to Rivera. ... Flaherty, the eighth man to hit in the inning, grounds out to end the brutal third.
Yankees 5, Cubs 0
It's hard enough following every moment of this game on TV, but now all the phones here are on the fritz and my voice mail light keeps blinking. When I check it, the Speak & Spell voice tells me "You have no new messages (sucker!)" Then kill the red light already!
OK, sorry. Back to the game.
Zambrano sends Jeter into the hole and he slips on the wet outfield grass. Zambrano's safe as the shortstop has to eat the ball. ... Martinez sends one to the family section in left-field bleacher for a two-run tater. The Cubs get two back ... Wells knocks down Patterson with a slow curve and the Wrigley crowd doesn't like it. It was a breaking ball, people. Patterson eventually flies out to Matsui in center. ... Sosa goes down swinging.
Yankees 5, Cubs 2
Here's the sweet swinging and swilling David Wells again. Oh, my, Wells hits one to left and Alou mis-plays it. The ball drops in over Alou's head and the portly pitcher chugs into second. Wells needs either oxygen or a beer or both. ... Zambrano is having difficulty locating the strike zone and Todd Wellemeyer jumps to life in the Cubs' bullpen. ... Zambrano shows some life in striking out the dangerous Soriano and Jeter. Jeter was caught looking at what would be a non-approved QuesTec strike, if Wrigley was equipped with the silly QuesTec Umpire Evaluation System. The Cubs will take it. ... Giambi squibs one to Karros and that's it.
Alou leads off the Cubs' fourth with a single. The Kenneys from Nuts on Clark have paid Chip and Steve a visit in the booth. I have to say Miss Kenney was my fine arts teacher at Nichols Middle School in Evanston. Karros lines one to Matsui in center. ... Bellhorn looks at a sweeping curve for strike three and takes his spot on the bench. That pitch was out of the zone. On the other hand, get me QuesTec! The game has started to drag a bit and Fox has started training its cameras on blondes in the crowd. ... Damian Miller is peppering third-base coach Wendell Kim with weak ground balls. Kim, however, is making the most of it, making many friends by tossing the balls into the crowd above the Cubs' dugout. Miller fans to end it.
Again with the phones. I'm in serious jeopardy of missing a crucial call here. Like all the wrong numbers I get from people looking to place classified ads. Ventura is retired and Mondesi flies out to Patterson after an interminable number of foul balls. Zambrano makes Godzilla look more like Mothra (OK, I'm losing it) and we're on to the Cubs' half of the fifth.
We need to pick this up people. It's getting late on a Friday evening. Too many foul balls here. Zambrano grounds the first pitch to Ventura. That's more like it. Martinez pops out for a second quick out. Good, good. And Gonzalez pops out. Three outs on five pitches. Moving right along.
Rivera pops out and suddenly Zambrano is cruising. He's sat down seven straight. Jinxola. Flaherty rips a single up the middle. Wells comes back to earth after that last at-bat and strikes out. Soriano loops one to right to a charging Sosa, who makes a decent grab and falls to his knees.
Patterson lines a single to right but you'll never know about it because Fox was too busy pestering Penny Marshall in the crowd about the Wrigley Field grass in "A League of their Own." Don't ask. It's best to leave it at that. Sosa pops, hops and flies out to the warning track. Geez, by the way Chip Caray reacted you would think he hit it to the Marigold Bowl on Grace. Seriously, I can't remember the last time Sosa hit a home run. Alou lines out to Mondesi in right. Patterson almost got hung up, but managed to hustle back to first. Karros lines to Mondesi and Mondesi had to have tied some sort of record for putouts in an inning at three. Is it possible to record four putouts in an inning? Does a catcher get credited with a putout on a dropped third stirke? I do not know.
I love how all the spammers just send away after 5 p.m., thinking they can slip one by the goalie. Jeter singles to right and Dusty goes out and gets Zambrano. Lefty Mark Gutherie comes on to face Giambi. Speaking of spam, I just one with "How to survive a heart attack when your alone" in the subject field. How uplifting. So, the lefty-lefty matchup backfires as Gutherie walks Giambi. Ventura moves the two runners along with a sacrifice bunt and that's it for Gutherie. I'm pretty sure Zambrano could've walked Giambi and then fielded Ventura's bunt, but that's just me. Every Cubs fans' favorite Antonio Alfonseca joins the party and junkballs Mondesi to death. Alfonseca made a little funky celebratory kick after the strikeout. Probably shouldn't do that in public. With a base open Alfonseca unintentionally intentionally walks Matsui to load the bases for left-fielder Rivera. Alfonseca fans him and gets even more pumped, pounding his chest as he walks off the field.
William Petersen is signing today. This is the Yankees, how about getting a name. After IMDBing him, I've learned he's on CSI. And born in Evanston. I'll cut him some serious slack for the latter factoid. Miller pops out Lenny Harris grounds out and I don't know who recorded the third out because I was immersed in William Petersen's bio.
OK, I take that back. Born in Evanston but "Attended Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho," according IMDB.com. That doesn't fly. Kyle Farnsworth, not from Evanston or Idaho but Wichita, Kan., faces Flaherty and blows him away with his usual barrage of serious heat. Wells does a little better than his battery mate, nearly sneaking a base hit by Karros but is retired. Soriano pops out. Top of the Cubs' order will start the bottom half.
The Cubs have, what, six hits? So of course the first two batters swing at the first pitch and both line out. Patterson gets ahold of one and puts it in the right-field bleachers. That chases Wells. Wells was pretty solid. He threw 83 pitches. The guy's walked three guys all year. Zambrano walked three guys today. Enter hard-throwing mustachioed former White Sox Antonio Osuna to pitch to Sosa. Sosa strikes out. No news there.
Yankees 5, Cubs 3
Farnsworth stays in to face Jeter. Farnsworth stays in to fan Jeter--looking. Exit Farnsworth. Salt-and-peppered lefty Mike Remlinger will pitch to Giambi. Let's hope he fares better than Gutherie. Gutherie walked him; Remlinger drilled him. Same result. Giambi's on first. Ventura pops to left-center. Patterson comes on, calls it and then Alou steals it and hip checks Patterson to the ground. I guess we know who wears the pants in that outfield. Strange little sequence. Two outs. Remlinger throws three straight changes to Mondesi and gets him.
Alou greets the usually unhittable Mariano Rivera with a single to right. Karros, the tying run, digs in. And someone woke up the crowd. The crowd resumes its nap as Karros pops to Soriano. Bellhorn versus Rivera. Not looking good for the men in blue. Clearly I'm not clairvoyant because Bellhorn pokes a broken-bat single through the right side of the infield. Check the bat! Lenny Harris hits for Miller and squibs one to Rivera. The runners advance. And Hee Seop Choi comes off the bench and could cement his place in Cubs history right now. Someone threw something on the field. "Looked like an orange that an idiot threw on the field," said Steve Stone. Orange gone and Choi strikes out on three pitches. Game over.
That's it. Thanks for reading, everyone.
Final: Yankees 5, Cubs 3