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July 6, 2006

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I was all ready to finally have something to write about for an Outdoor Corner, as the weather had cooled down, I had an open Sunday afternoon, and the fish were calling my name.

Mother Nature ruined my plans, dropping a severe thunderstorm watch on Scotland County. I was a bit puzzled, considering that this storm apparently was targeting our little county alone. I wonít complain about rain, but it still seems like a cruel twist of fate.

Regardless of whatís going on outside, Iím determined to editorialize in some shape or form for this weekís sports pages. Plus, this way I am more efficient, using the time I would have spent fishing, writing instead.

Unfortunately for me, the only sport I enjoyed this weekend was baseball. Iím a baseball nut, so there is nothing unusual about that. The rarity of this Sunday afternoon was that I actually was able to watch my team, the Chicago Cubs, win a game. The Cubbies blasted the cross-town White Sox 15-11.

I nearly broke out the code book and contacted my fellow Cub fans here in Scotland County. It takes secret messages to reach many of these folks in the secret society. Yes, there are a few of us living amongst you in Cardinals country. Unfortunately, because of the heated rivalry with the home-state redbirds, many Cub fans cheer for their team in quiet. As a journalist, Iíve learned that I must accept a sourceís desire for anonymity. While most sports fans choose to wear their colors for everyone to see, a 30-51 record makes it easy to see why many Chicago backers are doing so, quietly this season. It takes a lot for a person to admit they are a Cubs fan, so I wonít betray that trust.

Maybe a few more folks will come out of the closet as those pesky Cardinals continue to fall back to earth after a red-hot start. After a loss to the lowly Kansas City Royals (now there is a true secret society of fans for you, as a Royal fan is nearly as rare as an anchovy pizza aficionado) the Cardinals are just 44-36. Okay, the use of ďjustĒ there is a little overblown, considering the Cardinals are still 14 games ahead of the Cubs. But thanks to a mere one-game lead over the upstart Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinal fans are more interested in the pennant race than blasting the Cub Nation.

Iím a realist, the Cubs season is over. Still, I enjoyed a lazy afternoon of watching my team. To cap off my day, I was thrilled to watch White Sox third baseman Joe Crede come off the bench and hit a two-run homer.

Crede was a junior at Fatima High School when I graduated from college and took my first job as the sports editor for the Unterrified Democrat in Linn. The Osage County publication covered the school and I got to enjoy watching Crede. Iím no baseball scout, because I would have guessed the young man would have been going to college to play basketball. Not that he wasnít a star on the diamond too. He did earn all-state honors twice, not only for his batting but also as a pitcher.

It makes you realize how small a world we live in when youíre watching the World Series and you see a guy smash a winning home run and you can look back on the day you and he discussed the chances of his hoops team winning the state title.

I was only in Linn for less than a year before I moved up here to Memphis, so I canít honestly say that Joe Crede probably even remembers me. Still, it makes it fun to root for the guy from rural Missouri. Besides, with the Cubs playing the way they are - I need someone to cheer for.


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