Crosstown Clunker

By George Ofman

The day couldn't have been more splendid. The sun sparkled on a September afternoon in which the Sox and Cubs had to play a make-up game at Wrigley Field.

It was supposed to be a game which counted for both teams.

Playoff fever and bragging rights all rolled into one marvelous day in the sun-splashed shrine at Clark and Addison.

Instead, we found out warts get sunburn.

No real daylight drama here. The Sox won five to nothing. But both teams lost a while ago.

There was no need for Sox fans to chant "Cubs suck" or for the Cubs' faithful to reciprocate.

We already knew both teams suck.

What a waste of a city rivalry.

What a waste of a beautiful day.

Lucky Derrek Lee wasn't there. His wife was having the couple's second child. The delivery room must have felt safer and more comfortable.

Unlucky Jake Fox was there. He couldn't handle a pick-off throw at first where he was subbing for the absent Lee. But that play was just a microcosm of what's gone wrong for the Cubs.

And Scott Podsednik committing yet another base running blunder after leading off the game with a double simply exposed some of the Sox' sad tidings for the season.

This is what you get. And no egg rolls, either.

The Cubs were completing a 10-game homestand. They finished 5-5.

The Sox were ending a brutal 11-game road trip. They wound up 3-8. And they won the final two games!

OY!

Think of what it could have been.

Think again.

A walk along the lake would have been one of more preferable options. Even better: Alfonso Soriano walking along the lake and then jumping in instead of striking out three times, including the game's last out.

It was apropos. Not only did the Cubs' most overpaid player whiff thrice, he misplayed a fly ball by slipping. The ball rolled to the wall while Soriano ambled toward it, prompting White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone to chirp, "That's what happens when you have a designated hitter playing left field."

They also have a designated hitter in right. And Milton Bradley struck out twice.

The boo birds were in full throat.

Not that the White Sox and their already crestfallen fans were cheering in delight.

One three-hour romp in your rival's backyard doesn't make up for five months of miscues both on and off the field.

One gorgeous afternoon doesn't remove the cloud of despair.

Unless something miraculous happens, both teams will be watching the playoffs rather than competing in them. This has happened all too often. Last year was a fluke; both teams played in October, albeit for the briefest time.

Don't you wish it rained?

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George Ofman, an original member of The Score and a veteran of NPR, has covered more than 3,500 sporting events over the course of his career. Comments welcome.

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