Cubs-Cardinals Game Diary

10:23 pm: The organist just finished playing a somber version of "Take Me Out To the Ballgame," and ESPN followed it by showing a picture of Kile on the screen, with the dates of his life. It's still strange to think that we'll never see him pitching again.

10:21: As the game itself starts to drag, we're now getting to the point where Miller and Morgan are sharing stories about Darryl Kile.

8:51: Corey Patterson just did a great job streching a single into a double, as the ball went near that weird hill in right field (for some reason, the bullpen over there seems to stretch into the field of play.

8:53: Delino Deshields laid down a perfect sac bunt, and almost made it to first. Fernando Vina, covering from second, lost the ball, but it was ruled that he was in the process of transferring it from his glove to his hand.

8:56: After Simontacchi walked Sosa on four pitches, LaRussa comes out to the mound to meet with his entire infield. Who knows what they were talking about?

8:58: There's a fire somewhere outside of the stadium, and the smoke is starting to blow into the outfield. Could the scene get anymore surreal?

8:59: Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are really doing a good job, treating this like a baseball game, rather than a funeral, which has to be hard to do. Of course, this is the first time they've really gotten a chance to discuss strategy, specifically how to deal with McGriff, who's up with men on the corners.

9:04: After McGriff hit a sac-fly to bring the runner on third, Moises Alou hits a homer in about the same area as the earlier homer, giving the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

9:07: Simontacchi, after giving up another hit and uncorking a wild pitch, gets out of the inning, but, as the old saying goes, the damage is done.

9:12: "Tough times don't last long, but tough people do." That's a quote from Darryl Kile. I'm sure it's hanging in the Cardinals' clubhouse right now.

Back in the game:

8:39: Walt Jocketty just summed up the feelings of everyone, saying "I don't think it's really set in." He's also said "It's been very difficult for our organization" about four times, which says something itself. It's hard to find words to describe what's happened.

The last few athletes to die during their careers did so doing things that can result in death. Fred Lane was shot. Bobby Phills got into a car crash while drag racing down the highway. Jerome Brown was hit by a truck. Those things, while still tragic, are somewhat understandable. A world-class athlete dying in his sleep at the height of his career isn't.

8:45: Scott Walker gave the first "sideline update" of the game, telling us about the equipment manager, who carries around those black patches, blank obviously, "just in case."

8:46: Jon Miller just gave some eerie factoids. Kile's last start was Tuesday, a win that put the Cardinals into first place. That same day, Jack Buck died. Kinda strange.

8:37: Just as ESPN was beginning its interview with Cards GM Walt Jocketty, Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez hit a homer over the screen in left field, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Obviously my technical difficulties (a.k.a AOL sucking) are going to prevent me from doing this live all night, so, if I disappear for a while, know I'm keep track of everything in a Word document to post it later tonight.

8:32: Did I mention the Kerry Wood curveball. He just struck out the last Cubs batter on a pitch in the dirt. This game could easily be on track for a pitchers' duel.

8:20: ESPN just showed Simontacchi's right leg, with the black band and number 57 on it. There are a few players wearing tributes, most with them written on the cap.

8:19: Simontacchi got Patterson to hit a harmless fly to center, and things are off to a good start for St. Louis.

8:18: Now here's the real challenge.

OK, so it's obvious I'm going to have some technical difficulties during this. I'll try to do the best I can.

8:08: The Cubs just took the field. Sammy Sosa jogged out to right rather than sprinting. Other than that, there was very little that would make you think there was anything different about this game.

8:10: Vina knocked Wood's second pitch into left for a base hit, and pointed to the sky when he got to first, the first really physical sign any player has made to Kile tonight.

8:15: Jim Edmonds nearly homered, but Corey Patterson caught the ball at the wall for the third out of the inning, leaving Vina stranded at first. If the ball had carried two feet further, and over the wall, the Cardinals' dugout may have exploded with emotion.