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What the hell is going on in Chicago???!!!

Alternatively, what the hell is going on in New York City???!!!!

So I was strolling by Primer a few moments ago, and I noticed a link to this column by Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. Apparently, Dusty Baker, embattled manager of the Chicago Cubs, was supposed to appear on the ESPN television show Quite Frankly, with Steven A. Smith. I confess this was news to me; I had no idea that show made it past two months on the air. HOW-EV-AH, the bigger news item is that Baker ducked out when he learned of:

an e-mail one of the show's assistant producers had written. The e-mail, which appeared on at least two Cubs blogs, offered free tickets to those who wanted to attend the "live" taping of the show in New York.

Here's where it gets tricky: As posted on the Web sites, the e-mail included the following sentence: "You guys can definitely feel free to BOO Dusty if you so please."

First, to my knowledge no Cubbie fan needs license to boo Baker; most just do so out of habit. Second, this email seems twenty degrees past classless. Third, well, you'll never guess what happened next:

Smith also denied his staff had sent out a memo inviting people to boo one of his guests. Smith said that after speaking to staff members Thursday, he believes the memo was doctored and that the line about booing Baker was added.

A message board on reflected that sentiment. The assistant producer wrote to desipio to say the original posting?with the sentence about booing Baker?was inaccurate. An updated memo appeared without that sentence.

Smith accused, a frequent critic of his, of altering the memo, but deadspin merely linked to the site.

One of these allegedly duped Cubbie blogs is the aforementioned Goat Riders (of the Apocalypse). Was GR(otA) going to take this lying down? In a word, no. In two words, hell no. (Or, if you prefer: Negative, ghost goat rider; the pattern is full.) And, sure enough, along came this acknowledgement, from Mr. Smith himself:

The production company did a thorough review and it was brought to my attention that I was mislead [sic]. The word 'boo' was used. I trusted the individual and apologize for giving bad information. At the end of the day, the situation has been dealt with.

Citizen justice at work? Perhaps, but I suppose it also means whoever sent this email---apparently a producer named Jackea Chan---is gonzo. In the end, I suppose one "little person" was vindicated and another was slammed. Right?

Well, I'm positioned rather afar to pass judgment, but I'll note that SBN sister site Bleed Cubbie Blue experienced this brouhaha to one degree or another, as well. And BCB's proprietor, Al Yellon, one of the most diligent people you'll find on teh internets (and, as I understand it, one of the more empathetic Cubbie bloggers when it comes to Dusty Baker), seems to question Ms. Chan's scruples. According to Al, Ms. Chan sent a second email which did not include the "boo Dusty" line. Al puts two-and-two together thusly, and I can't say I blame him:

What a classic case of "cover my butt". Obviously, the "boo Dusty" line had caused a firestorm which had reached ESPN, and they hastily tried to backtrack. The truth is: Ms. Chan DID send out the original email, it was NOT doctored in ANY way, and if she's saying that to Stephen Smith in order to save her job, someone at ESPN ought to show her the door right now.

And so they have.

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Yeah, but where's the Sbarro?

By happy coincidence, the Cubs stroll into RFK Stadium tonight for a weekend series. Check that---the new RFK. Same as the old one, yes, but now with a food court!

Last night, published an interview with the man who puts the "[A]sten" in "Lernasten," Stan Kasten. The guy would seem to rate the new RFK Stadium food court two-thumbs-up:

I have to tell you, I just had lunch at our new food court, which was not good, not great, it was spectacular. Someone had a brisket sandwich from the Capital Q and immediately declared that you couldn't get a better brisket sandwich anywhere in the city. I don't know what was my favorite. The chili, which was outstanding, the fish and chips, the chicken wings, french fries. It was sensational, and everyone is going to love it.

Must be one hell of a brisket sandwich.

I'm going to go out on a limb and surmise that Kasten chose the food court as representative of the environmental alterations devoted to RFK in preparation for the Grand Re-Opening, d/b/a "Paint the Town Red" weekend. (Kasten does note that that food court is one of the few improvements not constrained by RFK's "physical limitations," so it's probably a wise thing to highlight.)

A couple of Nats blogs in particular have proven to be quite attune to the RFK experience, such that it is, so I'm quite sure that Curly W and Nats Triple Play will have reviews of "Paint the Town Red" and the improvements to the ballpark.

Kasten also said a couple of things that---now fully in cynical blogger mode---I could comment upon right now. But I'm not going to comment upon them right now. Why am I not going to comment upon them right now?

Because it's "Pain the Town Red" weekend! We're happy!

PS: When the hell are they going to transfer ownership?!

PPS: Ah, that's a different subject. Not going to comment on that one right now either.

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Bonus questions:

  • How on earth is Mark Prior winless?
  • How on earth is Pedro Astacio in the big leagues?