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SportsMonday: In Chicago, Fantasy Football Beats Reality Baseball

Repeat after me: Just because football training camp has begun doesn't mean football has begun. Just because football training camp has begun doesn't mean football has begun. Just because football training camp has begun doesn't mean football has begun.

Football starts when the season starts, i.e., when real games start. In other words, and believe me when I say I truly wish this wasn't so, there are still only two teams in town playing meaningful games. One of those teams seems hell bent on posting one of the worst records in Chicago sports history and the other is back to torturing its fans with new and excruciating ways to waste good pitching.

In celebration of that latter team, which of course calls the North Side home, let's hear some Ronnie Woo Woo (!).

Ronnie was last seen attending Dennis Farina's funeral last week, in full uniform of course (as usual, you cannot make this stuff up).

I'm not sure if he did so arm in arm with Jim Belushi, but he sure should have.

As for the former team, well, the only even slightly compelling storyline at this point is the White Sox's race for the worst record in the league. They are full-on going for the top pick in next year's draft, making it 10 losses in a row with their 3-2, 12-inning setback in Detroit on Sunday.

The problem is, the Houston Astros will probably not be denied. The Sox raced past the Marlins for the second-worst record mid-losing streak (and now "lead" Miami by a couple games). But they still "trail" the Astros by four.

One other note on the White Sox - congrats on scoring two runs on Sunday and preventing a Chicago shutout (they were blanked the day before and the Cubs failed to score on Saturday or Sunday) weekend.

Earlier last week, the North Siders lost in large part because they grounded into four double-plays. They lost a game in which Junior Lake piled up four hits but did not score a run. They also lost a game in which they hit four (solo) home runs.

And they lost to the Dodgers 1-0 on Sunday to cap off a four-game sweep at Wrigley. In so doing, they failed to dent the scoreboard against Dodgers' sixth starting pitcher Stephen "Barney" Fife, who took the mound because manager Don Mattingly knew he had nothing to fear from the utterly punchless Cubs lineup and could therefore push Zach Greinke back a day to face the major-league Cardinals.

The Cubs did manage to help Starlin Castro look a little better on Sunday. The shortstop has been scuffling but he is still far better than journeyman Donnie Murphy, now in his eighth professional season and sporting a .204 career average (which is still two points higher than what Julio Borbon, whom he replaced on the roster, was hitting for the Cubs before angering Sveum one last time and getting demoted.) Murphy was, to say it as kindly as possible, overmatched at the plate in his start on Sunday.

So he fits right in.

I'm thinking next week I will have to break my "regular season" rule. We can spin all sorts of fan fantasies about the Bears right now and I'm sure this Friday's exhibition opener will give us plenty to discuss. It won't mean anything but that sure beats baseball reality in this town.

-

Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

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