(Greg Maddux, striking out Cubs with this ball, moving at actual speed)

The Cubs finally got that success monkey off their backs in San Diego lst night, snapping a win streak at 9 in a 2-1 loss to the Padres. Still, this big league yawner had its moments. First, Teddy Roosevelt Lilly lasted into the 8th with some beautifully tossed solutions to several self-imposed headaches that made it seem like the Padres lead off with guys at the corners. Jim Edmonds made a mighty like a moose catch off the back wall, and we learned that you can indeed challenge the arm of Alfonso Soriano with impunity. Greg Maddux also showed how you can knock down one Cub after the next with junk thrown just above the national speed limit.

(Zell, holding Tribco’s net profits for 2007)

With the streak over, it’s time to look at some troubling undercurrents in North Side baseball. First, and worst, Sam Zell announced, or just babbled in a senior moment, that Tribco intends to retain a 5% stake in the Cubs no matter who buys them. Zell’s 5% announcement is comparable to putting the stake in the vampire’s heart but not cutting it’s head off. Total eradication is all that will do. If Zell insists on this path, I will be forced to put the full weight of CSTB against him. I hope he sees what’s happened to Tribco, the Bush Administration, Roger Clemens, and Tom Sizemore, to name just a few. Sell the Cubs, you babbling crank.

(Pictured, Obama, at an Iowa Cubs game, doing what it takes to win)

The news following Zell is no better. In the political world, Senator Barack Obama clinched the Democratic Party Presidential nomination, meaning North Siders of the lefty persuasion like myself must vote a Sox fan into the White House. Self-pity and a chip on your shoulder aren’t usually attractive qualities in a Presidential candidate, so hopefully Obama will drop the Sox and Ozzie Guillen as quickly as he did Trinity Church and its equivalent loudmouth, Jeremiah Wright. Trinity and the Sox, two South Side institutions with no national appeal. And finally, with possible future Cub ownership partner Bill Murray’s ugly divorce in the news, Jim Belushi creeps up in the Wrigley standings as one of the higher profile Cub fans, along with George Will, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Buffett, Eddie Vedder, and Billy Corgan. I’m hoping the charges against Murray are a total fraud. If not, John Cusack needs to start making some serious public appearances in Cub gear.