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Ichiro sisles while Cubs burn

First, the happy talk. Ichiro Suzuki broke George Sisler's record on Friday for the most base hits in a season. Sisler's record of 257 base hits for the St Louis Browns in 1920 fell when Suzuki singled to centrefield in the third inning of Seattle's 8-3 win over Texas on Friday night. Suzuki, and the Mariners, finished their season on Sunday, Ichiro extending his record to 262 base hits.

Associated Press reports that there were 115 Japanese journalists accredited for the Mariners-Rangers series. Items from Japan Today, Kyodo News Agency, and an editorial from The Asahi Shimbun.

Okay. Deep breath. Chicago Cubs.

Five losses in a row before winning ending the regular season on Sunday by defeating Atlanta 10-8. But it was too late by then. The Cubs (89-73) had squandered a 1.5 game lead over the Giants (91-71) in the NL wildcard race. But lo and behold, it was the Houston Astros (92-70) who surged through to snatch the wildcard place away from both.

The gruesome story of the Cubs' final week of choking is documented by George Kyroudis and Al Yellon.

What can we get excited about? Moises Alou: 39 home runs, 176 base hits, 106 RBIs. Aramis Ramirez and Todd Hollinsworth batted .318. Corey Patterson stole 32 bases. Carlos Zambrano and Greg Maddux won 16 each, LaTroy Hawkins saved 25, Matt Clement struck out 190, Kent Mercker had an ERA of 2.55.

Barry Lamar Bonds finished the season with 45 home runs for a career total of 703. George Herman Ruth is 11 away, Henry Louis Aaron 52.

Coming blathers: final minor league wrap, Japan update, South Korea update, Dutch honkbal wrap, Olympic where-are-they-now and an Expos where-are-they-next.