The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Cubs beat Brewers

And the magic number drops by two. Though, I gotta say, the top of the 9th was nerve-wracking—but Wood pulled through, finishing the game with a strikeout.

Philadelphia has clinched the NL East, so now it's beween New York and Milwaukee for the wild card, assuming the Cubs don't choke.

Oh, and the Cubs win has eliminated St. Louis.

Another Cubs win

And this one, a one-hitter. Magic number now 6. Milwaukee and St. Louis will be in town this week—I'll be at Friday's game—so the Cubs could, theoretically, clinch by Thursday.

Monkeys could, theoretically, fly out of my butt, too; but the Cubs clinching the division this week is actually more likely.

Single digits

Milwaukee lost the first game of their double header against Philadelphia this afternoon, so the Cubs' magic number is now 9.

Update, 21:00 CDT: The Brewers just lost 6-1. The Cubs' magic number falls to 8, with 16 games yet to play.

Later update, 21:15 CDT: The Cubs are right now schooling the Astros 5-0 in the top of the 9th at Miller Park. So despite the rain, today is turning out pretty well for the Cubs.

Final update, 21:30 CDT: Thanks to a 7-inning no hitter by Carlos Zambrano—the first Cubs no-hitter since 1972—the Cubs beat Houston 5-0, lowering their magic number to 7.

Rainiest day ever yesterday, might be worse today

Yesterday Chicago broke its all-time one-day rainfall record of 165 mm (set 14 August 1987) with 168 mm recorded at O'Hare:

And it's still falling:

Here's the Tribune story:

After the rainiest day in recorded Chicago history, residents across the area faced more storms, closed roads and flooded basements Sunday as the remnants of Hurricane Ike were expected to arrive.

Saturday's rainfall, as measured at O'Hare International Airport, was at least 6.63 inches, breaking the city calendar-day record of 6.49 on Aug. 14, 1987. Records have been kept since 1871.

The storm, which was blamed for at least one death, also clogged dozens of roads and stranded motorists from Evanston to Schaumburg to Naperville. The Edens Expressway was closed for hours, and access to O'Hare blocked by both road and train.

An additional 2 to 4 inches of rain are forecast, compounding the damage to a waterlogged region where record flood levels are expected along the Des Plaines River. Prospect Heights officials declared a state of emergency, and Riverside residents were put on alert for possible evacuation as the river rose. Water also edged higher on the Chicago and Fox Rivers.

My just-bathed dog now smells like a clean, wet dog instead of just a clean dog. And it keeps coming down.

Cubs-Astros series in Milwaukee

Stuff that makes you say "huh:"

The Cubs and Houston will play two of their postponed games at 7:05 p.m. Sunday and 1:05 p.m. Monday at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Major League Baseball announced late Saturday night.

The third postponed game will be played only if it affects the postseason situation, and not until the day after the end of the regular season. Brewers officials said they encourage fans heading to the games in Milwaukee to purchase tickets online and use the print at home feature to expedite the game experience.

...

Until Saturday afternoon, Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane had refused steadfastly to concede that rescheduling games in a hurricane-ravaged area was unfeasible, insisting the Astros deserved to keep their home-field advantage. The Cubs, meanwhile, continued to push for a switch to a neutral site, with Miller Park—aka "Wrigley North"—being their first choice.

Um...with the Brewers within spitting distance of the NLC pennant, I hardly consider Miller Park "neutral territory." But it is a good compromise. And, if I get my act together, I might go after all (once I figure out the Astros' rain-check policy).

Update: I may actually go to Milwaukee on Monday...

Nope. No Cubs game in Houston Saturday

American Airlines called me and said they're not flying to Houston this weekend, and would I like a refund? (This sort of thing is why I love American.) So, no Cubs game after all. I just hope Houston is still there when I continue the 30-Park Geas next season:

Update, 22:00 CDT: MLB.com has the story, including the back-story, about the league cancelling Friday's and Saturday's games.

Worst. Education. Idea. Ever.

The Chicago Public Schools are now bribing children to get higher grades:

Up to 5,000 freshmen at 20 Chicago public high schools will get cash for good—and even average—grades as part of a new, Harvard-designed test program that city education leaders are rolling out Thursday.

Students will be measured every five weeks in math, English, social sciences, science and physical education. An A nets $50, a B equals $35 and a C still brings in $20. Students will get half the money upfront, with the remainder paid upon graduation. A straight-A student could earn up to $4,000 by the end of his or her sophomore year.

...

"It's a terrible idea, because you're getting people to do things for the wrong reasons," said Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore College psychology professor who has written on the issue. "They'll do well in school, maybe, but they won't take any of it out with them. Instead of trying to cultivate an interest in learning, curiosity . . . you are just turning this into another job."

It may not be obvious, but bribery is force—coersion—robbing the behavior of any intrinsic value. Not to mention, any metric can be gamed, and with money on the line, the opportunities for corruption increase by orders of magnitude. Arguing points on a test will now have a financial stake, which changes the stakes of arguing points on a test dramatically. Once coersion exists in the system, it will be applied in both directions. Teachers and students have a naturally adversarial relationship already; this will make it much, much worse.

This is, in short, the stupidest idea I've ever encountered in public education. Our city will get exactly what it pays for with this program. It's just a pity the CPS doesn't get what that means.

Blowin' in the wind

I have tickets to see the Cubs play Houston this Saturday—in Houston. This graphic just released from the National Hurricane Center suggests that even though Minute Maid Park has a roof, the game might still be rained out:

(For those of you without a handy map of Texas, Houston is just about where the "2" is in the phrase "2 PM Sat.")

At the moment, Ike is expected to make landfall just around the time my plane is supposed to land, just about where my plane is supposed to land, as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane with 95 kt winds.

Crap. I'll be watching this only slightly less than I'll be watching Friday's weather, if only because my life depends on Friday's weather and not on Saturday's.

Update: At least I would get a refund on my airfare if the hurricane hits.