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Wednesday's baseball blather

The Cubs drew level with the Giants in the NL wildcard race on Tuesday night. However, as I am writing this, the Giants are about to nudge in front again.

The Cubs have been whizzing around the place this week. Milwaukee on Sunday, Miami Monday, Pittsburgh Tuesday and Wednesday. They split Monday's double-header against the Marlins, made up of games postponed because of the plethora of hurricanes in the past few weeks.

Game One on Monday saw the Cubs win 5-1 before going down 5-2. Tuesday night, they beat the Pirates 5-4 in 10. Al Yellon's take on proceedings is up.

The Cubs are now 84-66, which was all square with the Giants for a few hours. San Francisco have just beaten Houston 9-2 to go to 85-66. Bonds, incidentally, is still on 701 home runs, but the Giants organisation has agreed today to waive the right to void the final year of his contract. That means he will be with San Francisco till the end of the 2006 season, when he will be 42 years old.

Time to put in a word for George Kyroudis' Cubs blog on the Most Valuable Network. Here is his take on Monday's double-header against the Marlins. Other active Cubs blogs include the Big Red C, The View from the Bleachers, Transplanted Cubs Fan. And all the ones I haven't caught up with yet which are registered with

Japanese baseball resumed on Monday after the weekend's historic industrial action. This story from Kyodo News Agency:

Baseball: Shinjo's grand slam turns delusion as PL baseball restarts

SAPPORO - Tsuyoshi Shinjo hit a ''sayonara'' grand slam off Koji
Mise (4-3) with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the
Nippon Ham Fighters bounced back from 2-0, 8-4 and 10-9 deficits in a
13-12 victory over the Daiei Hawks in the Pacific League.

Back-to-back RBI hits by Fernando Seguignol and Sherman Obando
tied the game in the ninth and Shinjo capped the scoring with what
appeared to be his second homer of the evening at Sapporo Dome, until
he ran past the first-base runner and the homer was rerecorded as an
RBI single according to the rulebook.

Tuesday night's scores and standings are here. Nippon Professional Baseball has yet to make a decision on whether to reschedule the weekend's twelve strike games.

Meanwhile, chaos in South Korea as 51 professional baseball players are suspended for the rest of the season for draft-dodging. (That's the military draft, not the baseball draft.)

Baseball on TV in Australia over the coming week: ESPN has Orioles at Red Sox live 9am Thursday, and the Sunday night game, Oakland at Anaheim, on delay 9.30pm Monday night. Fox Sports One has Houston at San Francisco live at midday Friday, Oakland at Anaheim delayed 11.30am Sunday, and Anaheim at Texas on delay midday Tuesday.

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