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Carlos didn't say it but meant it anyway ...

If anyone had been wondering if I had been subjected to some extraordinary rendition and quietly been spirited off to Islamabad (wouldn’t that work neatly for some of the mullahs if we rendered them not to secret prison sites but to Las Vegas?), I am here to say my absence from blogville was far more innocent than that. For most of last week, I was playing some wonderful golf courses around St. Louis, and the only extraordinary rendering being done was my paying gambling debts to my playing partners ($78). I mention the amount not out of a plea for sympathy but to force the others to include their earnings on their taxes, plus now they can’t go to the Olympics, in the event that golf ever gets added to the quadrennial five-ring circus.

I read in the Sunday paper yesterday that Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano, presumably in the throes of spiritual enlightenment as the Cubs played the Yankees in an exhibition at the new Yankee Stadium, had the temerity to suggest that it might be nice if the Cubbies could someday play in similar digs.

According to the Associated Press report, Zambrano’s exact words were, “You wish that Chicago’d build a new stadium for the Cubs.” Yikes!

By this morning was carrying a story where the hurler was denying he had said it, that he had been misquoted and that it was just his opinion anyway about that thing that he hadn’t actually said. I am surprised that he didn’t use the old “my remarks were taken out of context” ditty that so many players and public figures employ without having a clue what what it means.

It’s hardly conclusive, but it’s a pretty fair bet that an Associated Press writer wouldn’t employ the odd contraction “Chicago’d” if he were making up a quote to sell a few extra newspapers.

And then Zambrano went on to explain away the controversy, and with a nod to irony, much of his explaining seemed to hint that he really had said the original statement in the first place. To paraphrase (and shorten), he essentially said that he understands the fans’ rabid allegiance to the near-sentenarian (100 years old) Wrigley Field, but that the players would really rather play in a structure that didn’t date back to Christy Mathewson.

Me, I understand both sides of the debate, and being nostalgically inclined you’d suspect I’d come down on the side of preserving Wrigley forever, but ...


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