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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Turner Field has one of the largest high-definition video displays in the world, measuring nearly 80 feet high, but umpire Marvin Hudson never looked at it," Carrie Muskat reports at

"It was the sixth inning Monday when the Cubs needed Hudson to take a peek. They had closed to 8-5 against the Atlanta Braves thanks to Aramis Ramirez's two-run homer in the third. He singled to open the sixth and Marlon Byrd then lofted a ball to deep left-center. Atlanta's Nate McLouth made what looked like a diving catch to Hudson. But it wasn't."

No, it wasn't.

"Replays clearly showed McLouth did drop the ball, which is what Ramirez saw and why he advanced to second base. Byrd thought McLouth caught it. Ramirez was doubled off 8-6-3, and instead of having runners at first and second, the Cubs had two outs in the sixth."

Now, if we lived in the world we so often pretend to live in, McLouth would have simply told the truth to the nearest umpire. After all, don't those involved in athletics go on and on about how playing sports is character-building?

And aren't we taught that cheating - and lying - is wrong?

Is it so absurd to think that players whose grotesque salaries come derive in part from their status - wanted or not - as role models should act honorably?

Just tell the truth. Pols, athletes, corporate executives, people with power and wealth and fame - just tell the truth. It's not so hard.

* * *

"It was vivid, right in front of the replay," Piniella said. "I told the umpire, 'Just look at the replay and you'll get the correct call.'"

Of course, umpires aren't allowed to make calls based on stadium video screens. Seems absurd - everyone but the decision-makers can look at the evidence - but there you go.

* * *

"I like the human element," new Cub Marlon Byrd said, even though the human element of bad calls went against his team this time.

Apparently the human element includes a baseball code not of honor, but of doing anything it takes to win as long as you don't get caught - just like in any other sport.

That's what we really teach our kids.

* * *

"But Hudson, the second-base umpire, didn't look, and after conferring with the rest of the crew, upheld the double-play call."

And as Piniella pointed out after the game, that call wasn't why the Cubs got crushed 16-5, though their momentum was certainly killed.

But that doesn't make Len Kasper's whiny assertion late in the game about what-might-have-been any less embarrassing.

Had the umpire made the right call, Kasper said, the Cubs' next batter was momentum personified, "in the form of home-run hitter Alfonso Soriano."

Kasper could have just as easily said the Cubs might not have scored anyway because the next batter was "in the form of .248 hitter Alfonso Soriano," who went 0-for-4 on the day.

* * *

Baseball does teach us lessons. Sometimes the wrong ones. I guess you could say it tells us a lot about ourselves, though.

Hurly Buehrle
The play of the year on Opening Day?


Innkeeper Alexi
"The $6.5 million sale price Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias accepted for a state-owned hotel once tied to indicted political fund-raiser William Cellini netted taxpayers about half of the property's estimated value at the time of the deal, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

"The hotel's buyer, developer Steve Horve, confirmed that appraisal valued the property at $11.2 million - making his $6.5 million bid a true bargain.

"'I think if this thing was bid again [in a couple years], it's very, very unlikely I would have gotten it,' said Horve, who estimated that building a comparable hotel would cost $40 million."

Now, Giannoulias says the state shouldn't be running a hotel and getting rid of it quickly was more important than timing the market.


But here's what really hurts:

"Under Giannoulias' control, the hotel posted a net profit of $1.3 million between March 2008 and last January."


* * *

Then again, that's what can happen when you cater to mobsters. The Al Capone Suite did particularly well.

* * *

"I couldn't build a Holiday Inn Express, 62 rooms, for $6.5 million," Horve said.

Not even if you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night?

He's Fired
That's okay, Rod, there's no texting in prison.

Forrest And Trees
Forrest Claypool is a thousand times more preferable than Joe Berrios in the Cook County Assessor's race, but two questions about Claypool nag:

1. Did he really bow out of the Cook County Board president's race to work in the private sector, or did he not have the stomach for it?

2. The Sun-Times editorial on Monday lionizing Claypool asserts that he "served honorably twice as Mayor Daley's chief of staff."

Really? I don't remember an honorable era under Daley. If Claypool was really honorable - and really a reformer - he would come clean and spill. Surely he knows where many of Daley's bodies are buried.

Cub Stub
Newspaper narratives never seem to change. On Monday the Sun-Times delivered a story I'm pretty sure I've read every year since I moved to Chicago in 1992: "Signs point to lasting changes in Cubs culture."

I suppose that would be true if those stories were about the gentrified fan base, but they're not. They're about the Cubs so-called culture of loserdom, which is really about decades of inept management that keeps feeding on itself. And it hasn't changed yet, the Ricketts' notwithstanding.

Cat Scat
When Caterpillar first announced health care reform would cost it $100 million, I posted a link to the story. Other companies followed with similar announcements, but I didn't; I wasn't sure I understood what these "charges" really meant. Thanks to David Greising of the Chicago News Cooperative - among others - for taking a step back and clarifying the situation for folks like me:

"Caterpillar's complaint led to dozens of headlines, but a closer look at the impact of the new law indicates it is not quite the budget buster that the company's human resources executive, Gregory Folley, implied in his missive," Greising reports.


Crain's also pushes back.

Today's Beachwood
* PBS goes inside an innovative Illinois prison.

* Cook County offers tax tips.

* We celebrate National Poetry Month.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Poetic.


Posted on April 6, 2010

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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