Play-by-play from the cubicle

Today's temperature for the Cubs-Expos game in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is 86 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. The Weather Channel says it feels like 93, but I can't confirm this -- I'm two levels below ground in the Tribune Tower.

The thermometer here says it is 76. It feels like 76, but I'm not the Weather Channel so it's not official.

I'm subbing for Adam Caldarelli who is currently covering the Bears. I will try to relieve better than Mark Guthrie did last night.

I will be following the game on a 10-year-old television on my desk. I have been angling for a new television but have been unsuccessful. Maybe this public plea will help — or get me reprimanded. I would listen in on the radio broadcast, but last time I tried, we couldn't get WGN-AM 720 down here even though the Michigan Avenue WGN studio is right above us.

The start of the game is nearing. Mark Prior is on the mound for the Cubs. Prior, who turned 23 Sunday, takes a seven-game winning streak, a 15-5 record and a 2.41 earned-run average into the game. Starting for the Expos is righty Tomo Ohka. He is 8-12, 4.71

Feel free to use the e-mail form on the right to drop me a line.

Dennis from Rochester, Minnesota, writes in to tell me that this is how Ronald Reagan got his start—by doing the play-by-play from a ticker tape. Thanks, for the note Dennis. I will invite you up to WGN's TV booth in a few years.

The Cubs-Expos game is being delayed by rain.

Houston's Jim Compton, a lost Chicagoan, writes that I am his eyes to the game. Jim, let's hope this doesn't turn into one of those marathon rain delays because I am getting married in three weeks and my future wife has signed us up for dance classes tonight. I see a potential storm here in Chicago if the rain in Puerto Rico doesn't stop.

E-mail me some ideas for first-dance songs.

Steve from Chicago asks when does it rain in Puerto Rico? Steve, the Cubs are leaving Puerto Rico just in time as a hurricane is forecasted to come into the area in three to four days.

Louisiana's Brad Tyler suggestion would be "On the Wings of Love" by Billy Ocean. He also asks how my future wife would like the last name "Gugger." Brad, she doesn't like it at all. She is disturbed by all the G's.

Brad from Chicago asks me what I am going to do if my wedding conflicts with a Cubs playoff game? Brad, I will be on my honeymoon in Hawaii watching the Cubs.

First Inning

Tom Goodwin hit the first pitch of the game into right field for a single. Womack strikes out. Goodwin gets caught stealing. He was out easily. Not a very impressive steal attempt there. Sammy Sosa reaches on an error and advances to second on a wild pitch. Moises Alou flies out to end the inning.

Looking at the Cubs' lineup, at least I won't have to spell "G-R-U-D-Z-I-E-L-A-N-E-K" as he isn't starting.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Ross from California writes that Goodwin got his hit for the day and asks if the Cubs should pull him. Ross, did you write this before or after that steal attempt by Goodwin?

Prior retires Brad Wilkerson, Endy Chavez singles and Orlando Cabrera flies out. Vladimir Guerrero hits a foul ball that Eric Karros catches to end the inning.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Second inning

St. Louis' Jim Hannon writes that the Cardinals and Astros are both losing early. Yes, they are. A quick update--Rockies 4, Cards 2, 4th inning; Brewers 1, Astros 0, 2nd inning.

Aramis Ramirez is retired. How? I have no idea. I was looking up those NL scores. Karros flies out. Alex Gonzalez singles up the middle bringing up Bako. Bako flies out to center to end the inning.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Quick White Sox update. Twins are up 4-1. Frank Thomas hit his 40th homer.

Ron Calloway goes down swinging. Todd Zeile singles. Todd Zeile? I remember spending money on his rookie card many, many years ago. Can I get a refund on that? Brian Schneider singles. Guys on first and second with one out. Both runners advance on a wild pitch. Prior walks Henry Mateo. Bases loaded with the pitcher coming up. Prior takes care of Tomo Ohka and Wilkerson, the leadoff hitter, strikes out. Prior dodges a bullet there.

Coworker Adam Caldarelli writes in that Jeffery Osbourne sang "On the Wings of Love." And that Billy Ocean sang "Caribbean Queen," which is more appropriate for this road trip. Thanks Adam. Now get back to writing about the Bears and quit humming that song in my ear.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Third inning

Quick update: Rockies 6, Cards 2, 5th inning; Brewers 1, Astros 0, 4th inning.

Mark Prior leads off the inning with a ground rule double. Sorry about the error in the bottom of the second. One of my favorite moments this year was when Prior pinch hit and Wrigley Field went wild. He ended up making an out so I guess that wasn't much of a moment after all. Back to the game. Goodwin grounds out, Prior advances to third. Womack grounds out to short. Prior still on third. Sosa grounds out. Prior's double is wasted.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Steve from Chicago recalls the cards of Ben McDonald and Kevin Maas and other Upper Deck rookie cards that were worth so much. Steve, I have a bunch of Ben McDonald and Steve Avery cards in some shoebox somewhere.

Chavez grounds out to second to start the inning. Orlando Cabrera triples into the right field corner. Guerrero is up. This could be trouble. Guerrero flies out and then Calloway grounds out to second as Prior gets out of another jam.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Fourth inning

Joe from California agrees that I need a new TV. Joe, last night I lost the sound while watching the Cubs. The sound is back today. Alou grounds out to start the inning.

Ramirez is retired. Karros reaches on an error by Zeile, the once heralded rookie. Karros almost tore up his knee rounding first. Karros is on first with two out. Bako flies out to end the inning.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Bobby from Chicago wonders why Cub playoff tickets are only being sold over the phone and Internet. Bobby, I am with you. They should sell them at Wrigley. The Sox are selling tickets at U.S. Cellular Field.

Zeile strikes out and Schneider walks.

Mateo takes a curve right down the middle for strike three. Karros commits an error on a grounder by Ohka, the pitcher. Guys on first and second, two out. Wilkerson's foul ball is caught by Bako. The Expos strand some more runners.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Fifth inning

Quick update: Rockies 7, Cards 2, 7th inning; Brewers 3, Astros 2, 5th inning.

A coworker has just put a 1992 Todd Hundley Upper Deck card on my desk. If he stops by again I will ask him why he would have this card at work with him.

Prior just misses a homer after Bako is retired. Two outs. Goodwin singles again. To Ross from California--don't give up on Goodwin yet. Womack grounds out to end the inning.

Cubs 0, Expos 0

Quick update: Twins 4, Sox 1, 7th inning.

Chavez flies out to start the bottom of the fifth. Cabrera doubles off Prior for his 39th double of the season. Guerrero up again with a runner in scoring position. Guerrero comes through this time with a single. Guerrero advances to second on a bad throw by Sosa. Expos go up 1-0.

Calloway hits a grounder that Womack stops with a dive. The throw is off the mark. We are waiting for the official scoring on that--we are still waiting. Anyway, guys on first and third one out. Todd Zeile up. My gosh, why does it seem I am always mentioning his name. Zeile goes down swinging. Two out. Schneider strikes out to end the inning.

Expos 1, Cubs 0

Sixth inning

Brad from Louisiana wonders why in the world Karros and Simon are splitting time? Brad, I would tell you that it makes sense to have Karros in against left handers and Simon against righties. But Karros is playing today against a righty while Simon sits. Simon has started the last four games so maybe Dusty Baker wanted to give Simon some rest.

Ohka makes quick work of Sosa, strikeout, and Alou, lineout to left. Ramirez grounds out to third and within minutes Prior will be taking the mound again.

Expos 1, Cubs 0

An Expo reaches first. Sorry, I missed how. Mateo sacrifices him over to second. 1 out. Wilkerson doubles in a run. Steve Stone says the bullpen should start to stir. Dave Veres starts warming up. Very scary. Chavez strikes out. Cabrera hits a ground rule double to make it 3-0. Cabrera is hammering Prior today with two doubles and a triple. Prior is replaced by Veres.

Young Choi from Chicago writes that even though Alou blew that one last night, we'll get through it. Just like we did with Brant Brown's catch. Young, I remember a woman from the news side crying when Brown dropped that ball.

Veres doesn't let in any more runs. We'll save you the details of the end of this painful inning for Cub fans.

Expos 3, Cubs 0

Seventh inning

Steve from Michigan writes that Steve Stone just mentioned that those who have Antonio Alfonseca on their fantasy teams should be aware that his suspension ends tomorrow. This of course begs the question, who the heck would have Alfonseca on their fantasy team? Steve, I think your question answered your question.

Tomo Ohka is still pitching for the Expos. His ERA going into the game was 4.71. As I write this, his ERA is now 4.54.

Karros, Gonzalez and Bako were retired in order. It isn't a good offensive day for the Cubs.

Seventh inning stretch music: "God Bless America." WGN then went to commercial. Wonder if they sang "Take me out to the Ball Game."

Expos 3, Cubs 0

Veres still in for the Cubs. Zeile doubles to start the inning. Jamey Carroll pinch runs for Zeile so that is the last time we have to write his name. Brian Schneider struck out swinging. Henry Mateo grounded out and Tomo Ohka grounded out to short to end the inning.

Expos 3, Cubs 0

8th inning

Andrew from Chicago writes that they probably sang "Sammy Sosa's Armour Hot Dog song" instead of "Take me out to the ballgame". Andrew, did you know that Armour Hot Dogs allows consumers to make toll-free calls to hear Sosa sing the wiener's famous ad jingle. Or at least they did in June, and no I didn't make that call.

Mark G-R-U-D-Z-I-E-L-A-N-E-K flies out down the right field line to start the inning. Goodwin grounded out to first. Lofton hitting for Veres; flied out to center to end the inning.

Expos 3, Cubs 0

Quick update: Rockies 9, Cards 3, Final; Brewers 5, Astros 3, 9th inning.

Mike Remlinger in to pitch for the Cubs. He retires the side in order.

Expos 3, Cubs 0

9th inning

This is it. The Cubs have three outs to score three runs. Tomo Ohka going for the complete game.

Sammy Sosa leads off the inning with a single and advances to second on an error. Alou follows with an infield hit. Runners on first and second, no outs.

Ohka is taken out of the game. Former Sox Rocky Biddle is in for the save.

Update: Both Houston and St. Louis have lost. Sox lose 5-2 to Twins.

Ramirez is up on the count 3-1. Now 3-2. Walk. Bases loaded, nobody out for Karros. Karros singles, one run in, bases still loaded. Expos up 3-1. Gonzalez up, grounder to third, double play. One run scores. Runner on second, two outs. Expos up 3-2.

Simon pinch hitting. Expos pitching change. Lefty Joey Eischen comes in to face Simon. 0-2 count. Simon grounds out to second to end the game.

Expos 3, Cubs 2

Thanks everyone for all the e-mails. Sorry I couldn't respond to them all. The Cubs didn't lose any ground in the Central race but they blew a big chance to close the gap.

Marie from Toledo writes, "I enjoyed reading your pregame story of the Cubs-Expos game. You should sub for Adam more often." Thanks for the e-mail Mom.

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