There are a pair of notable departures this week that I wish to touch on.
Best wishes to Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who accepted the trade to the Braves. As with most entertainers, I often wish athletes would not say very much. At all. Smile and wave, says I. The very well spoken Derrek Lee is an exception to this rule. My fingers are crossed that he gets the chance to play beyond the regular season. If he has to go, then I am glad he gets to go big with Atlanta, who are in first place. I look forward to hearing him speak about how things are going. Kudos to the fans for giving him a standing ovation when he returned in a Braves uniform days later -- a great show of thanks for seven years of solid ball.
Lou Piniella was going to retire as head coach of the Chicago Cubs at the end of this season but announced today that today would be it, wanting to spend time with this ailing 90-year-old mom. Lou devoted his entire adult life to the sport of baseball and baseball loved him back. Cubs fans are rabidly devoted and showed their love by giving the coach a standing ovation as he bid them farewell. Mr. Piniella was a great addition to the landscape that is Chicago baseball.
Last night in Soldier Field against the Oakland Raiders, the Bears played something that actually resembled professional football. Matt Forte ran for 89 yards, points were scored, and, even though they lost pretty thoroughly, they looked like an NFL team that could win a game sometime, maybe even this year. Next week, the Arizona Cardinals take the trip up Mount Olympus to have at the gods, followed by the gods twirling off to Cleveland for the final pre-season game on August 28. I suggest they keep their momentum but I mean the momentum of improvement. Perhaps Arizona will be bedazzled by our lakefront vistas and be thinking about the views and the interesting stadium (which looks like an alligator in a kangaroo's pouch from several angles). The weather on Mt. Olympus is especially nice in late summer. Maybe these distractions will be enough to produce a win or an anti-loss.
I didn't feel as disappointed as I did last week. Perhaps it was because I spent most of the day with my dearest friend and her family and we talked some politics and watched some White Sox and ate some dip that had guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and shredded cheese and then was topped with all sorts of olives -- black, green, green with pimento -- and is eaten with round, thin Tostitos and had to come from the snack kitchen in the bowels of hell because there is nothing really good for you in it but dang, that is some tasty, tasty dip that makes ones feel satisfied and like life can offer surprises after all. I still wasn't disappointed as I spent the second and third quarters driving home, listening to the Bears on the radio. It actually seemed like they were thinking about playing hard unlike the week before. What they need to remember is that they are there to play a good game and also win and that they are not gods but men. I am belaboring that metaphor but I like it so very much. Perhaps it will go away at the end of the season. (Do not hold your breath.)
I think about this on occasion: We got Jay Cutler; Denver got Kyle Orton. Did we really get the better of that deal? Then I think about something else, like birthday cake or what color I would paint the living and dining rooms, were I in a decorating mood.