From the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hirshley : (link courtesy Scott Comeau)
In light of the steroid cloud over baseball these days, the Cubs may not have made the most tactful choice in who will throw out the first ball for Friday’s game against St. Louis. Taking the mound will be former 154-pound super welterweight champion Fernando Vargas (above), who will fight Javier Castillejo Aug. 20 at Allstate Arena. In 2002, Vargas was suspended for nine months for testing positive for steroids after his KO loss to Oscar De La Hoya. Vargas’ appearance at Wrigley was planned “three or four weeks ago, before that was brought to our attention,” said Joe Rios, manager of entertainment and special events for the Cubs. “It would be prejudicial to rescind the invitation. He’s served his time and he’s clean now.” Besides, Rios said, Vargas was chosen for his name recognition, and there have been controversial choices sitting in the booth or standing on the field at Wrigley before. Example? Ozzy Osbourne.
Ozzy’s rough outing has been brought up many times, but he was clearly impaired. What’s Jeff Gordon’s excuse?
On the back of an all-too rare complete game from Greg Maddux, the Cubs beat the Cardinals earlier today, 11-4. Derek Lee continued to enhance his MVP credentials with a pair of home runs, and Nomar Garciaparra has raised his batting average by more than 60 points in the last 5 games. OK, he was hitting .150 last Saturday with only a handful of at bats, but I’m just trying to show that not everyone with a laptop is Bob Ryan. For one thing, Ryan can write.
I saw “Fever Pitch” on an airplane earlier today (retitled “The Perfect Catch” for the United Kingdom, where a ho-hum, more-to-the-subject matter adaptation of Nick Horby’s Gunner Lovefest appeared a few years ago staring Colin Firth). I think you’d have to go all the way back to “There’s Something About Mary” to find a Farrelly Brothers film with less of a New England vibe, which is pretty weird considering Boston provides the backdrop for the Fallon/Barrymore star vehicle. I could go on all day about little things the former Grossout Bruddas got wrong about Red Sox fans, but I’ll instead give them credit. At least they didn’t pretend the stands at Fenway are packed with anything other than loud white people.
That Fallon portrays what must be the only single male / self-described baseball afficiando in the USA who apparently neither owns a computer (despite sporting a Boston Dirt Dogs t-shirt) nor bores family and friends with the vicarious exploits of his fantasy team, seemed like glaring omissions.