Ben Schwartz supplies the following item from

The Cubs dealt Greg Maddux, Todd Walker and Scott Williamson at the trading deadline. Doesn’t that send a signal that the season is over?

“Not to me,” Dusty Baker (above) said. “It signals to me that it was time for somebody else to play. It was up to Greg, too. He didn’t want to leave, but if somebody else wants you — who says Greg isn’t coming back? I always feel I have a chance. That’s how it is, that’s how I am.”

Replies Ben,

Uh, wasn™t it just last week that the company line was that the Cubs would only trade Maddux if wanted to go and the Maddux line was that he™d be happy either way? Gotta say, I™m happy to have Maddux as a hometown attraction only ten minutes from my front door, but why should anyone take Hendry or Baker™s double-talk seriously on Baker™s future or anything else? That said, the recent spate of Cub wins (not including tonight™s loss) have inspired at least this much optimism in Baker:

“What do you want me to say — it’s over?” Baker said. “I can’t say that, because I don’t believe that. I can only say what I believe. Even if you don’t, you still have to play. You finish as high as you can finish. That’s what playing baseball is all about. If nothing else, you have something to build on next year.”

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know my chances are slim, but do you know? Does anybody know?”

The New York Times’ Murray Chass reports in Thursday’s paper there was a dispute between former Sen. George Mitchell’s team of investigators and Baker over whether the latter could have a lawyer present during questioning.

Baker™s appearance became mired in a thorny issue that popped up in June: Current players have the right to appear before Mitchell™s investigators with lawyers because of the collective-bargaining agreement, but could nonplaying witnesses bring lawyers with them, and could former players ask the union to represent them? In each case, Mitchell initially said no.

In fact, Mitchell, through his representatives, told the clubs in June that not only could nonuniformed employees not have lawyers with them when answering questions, but if they opted not to be interviewed without lawyers, he would seek to have them deemed noncooperative and face disciplinary action from Commissioner Bud Selig up to and including dismissal.

Why would the investigators object to lawyers accompanying witnesses? They would not say. Mitchell and one of his investigative aides, Charles Scheeler, did not return telephone calls to their offices yesterday. A spokesman for Mitchell, John Clarke, said, œWe have no comment on the questions you asked about.