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Pardon My French
by alex ciepley
Bonjour, Monsieur. Est-ce que vous puevoir, errr... Est-ce que je peux parlez le francais... uhhh, une...un moment... Est-ce que je peux parler anglais avec vous?
Can I speak English with you? I must've stumbled through that phrase a thousand times in my just-finished vacation to France. I'm still a bit in French mode. Yesterday, my first day back, the word "Merci" slipped out when ordering a slice from a little Italian joint, much to the bewilderment of the chubby New York deli dude behind the counter.
As far as the Cubs go, it seems I stepped directly off the plane from Paris into the summer of 2004. I didn't check my phone, email, or the sports pages once in the week I was gone, so knew nothing about the 2005 Prior-Wood Tagteam Injury Spectacular.
I'd become paranoid, of course, that something horrible had happened while I was incommunicado--an illness in the family, my apartment being robbed, my DVR failing to record American Idol--but I hadn't really considered that the worst would be that the Cubs pitching staff was already in shambles. As far as life trials goes, it isn't so bad, but it does suck as a baseball fan.
A couple quick thoughts as I work my way back through time zones, newspaper articles, and my email inbox.
Is Sergio Mitre, perhaps, adding arsenic to a few dishes in the after-game buffet? Ryan Dempster and Glendon Rusch were guaranteed to make the roster, but Mitre stands to benefit most from any Wood or Prior missed starts.
Mitre's often overlooked--and his line with the Cubs wasn't pretty last year--but he was spectacular in AAA through the end of the season. Maybe this is the year Mitre will strut his stuff at the Major League level, too.
Do you think I can get away with using McGwire Logic down the road to cover all manner of sins? Can I, say, steal curry pastes from my favorite Thai grocery and then, when nabbed, just tell them politely, "I'm not here to talk about the past"?
Or when caught listening to Miss Cyndi's "I Drove All Night" on my shiny new iPod, can I just tell the court of public opinion that I'd like to become an advocate against '80s pop in order to deflect criticism?
Would I buy a car from Kerry Wood? Maybe. He doesn't seem as slick as, say, Harold Reynolds, who would most certainly sweet-talk me into overpaying for some fancy window treatment.
Meanwhile, spring training soldiers on, and baseball is just around the corner. I'm still getting settled in my new digs here with the Toasters, and still getting those pesky French phrases out of my head, but I can't wait to get back in the baseball groove.