The above headline is supplied by Ben Schwartz, who in quoting a report from, writes

“It was good to get that skunk off the boat because it was getting ridiculous,” said Cubs manager Dusty Baker, and any angler will understand the comparison. “I should be happy, but I’m more relieved than happy.”

That skunk being Pepe Le Pew, I mean, Pierre? Aka, the guy on the team who actually wants to win? As I guessed here yesterday,one day after Juan Pierre announced that he doesn’t want to see Bonds hit a home run off the Cubs and wants to win the World Series, the Cubs bumped him from the lead-off spot to number #2. That Juan was doing a weak job there (hitting .219?) and that the Cubs won once they did it does nothing to change my mind, altho baseball “purists” may disagree.

However, with the Cubs return to major league baseball last night, so ends what one hopes is the lamest losing streak ofthe year. Juan Pierre’s snatch of Bonds’ entry into Babedom on Tuesday seems to have fired up the Cubs, much to the disappointment of Bonds fan #1 Derrek Lee whose wish to give up home runs to his idol may still come true today. I hope Lee sits down with Gary Sheffield one day to talk about Bonds and hear first hand how his hero isn’t all that. As for last night, Carlos Zambrano’s finest piece of pitching for the year was no doubt his 5th inning caught-looking shut down of Bonds with a 96mph fastball that dropped like a flat tire into the strike zone. Baker’s Cubs were spoilers when Clemens came to Wrigley hoping to get his 300th win, and hopefully they will remain as such today.

By the way, when local SF media cover Dusty Baker, a manager still popular here, they quote him in complete sentences and make him sound like he knows a thing or two about baseball. It begs the question whether or not Chicago media intentionally tries to ridicule him or SF media clean up his interviews a la the White House Press Corps and Bush. I’m betting on the latter, since Baker went out of his way to correct SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins who quoted him as saying he was “mildly annoyed” about not getting a contract offer yet. The Cubs’ Carrie Muskat reverted to Dustyspeak in their correction. “I didn’t tell him that,” Baker said of the comment, “… at this point, when you’re losing, you can’t be annoyed about nothing because you’re losing,” Baker said.

In San Francisco this afternoon, the Sultan of Surly is homerless thus far, having been walked twice (once intentionally) and scored a pair of runs. Sean “Crossbones Style” Marshall has been chased after allowing 9 earned runs in less than 4 innings ; Pedro Feliz is 3 for 3 with 3 RBI’s, while Steve Finley knocked in 3 runs with a bases clearing triple in the bottom of the third. Bonds went head first into the stands while chasing an Aramis Ramirez foul in the top of the 6th ; let’s just say the results weren’t exactly Jeteresque.