The Bald Truth
My son Ben looked up from the Tribune - and his breakfast - to say: "Hey, here's something you're not gonna believe."
My response: "What? That somebody too young to run for president actually is reading a newspaper?"
"No, it's Derrek Lee saying he'd be willing to bat leadoff for the Cubbies."
Ben was right. I didn't believe it.
Less than one year ago, I ran the numbers and concluded that Lee was the Cubs' best choice to bat leadoff. When I presented my theory to him - complete with several pages of supporting evidence - he practically laughed in my face.
"For the good of the team," he said, "I've got to bat in the middle somewhere, right?"
He then yelled out to Lou Piniella as the skipper walked through the spring-training clubhouse: "Hey, Lou! He wants me to hit leadoff!"
"What?!?!" Piniella shrieked, sounding as if he had just seen Erin Andrews stroll through the clubhouse wearing only a thong and a smile.
Yeah, it was a big joke back then but now the Cubs are so desperate to get more production out of the leadoff spot that they're willing to consider anything.
Even putting a high-on-base-percentage guy at the top of the order.
The Balder Truth
Actually, Lee probably wasn't offering to bat leadoff. He was just making a point that he'd happily hit anywhere.
Alfonso Soriano, who is just about the worst leadoff option on the team but has some strange psychological bond to the spot, also said as much ... with a caveat.
"If they want to move me, I'd like to stay in one spot and not switch," he told reporters in Arizona. "I'd like to concentrate on one spot."
Absolutely. Because Alfonso "Swing, Baby, Swing" Soriano brings different approaches to the plate depending upon where he bats in the order, right?
THE BALDEST TRUTH
Poor Bristol Palin. She had to sit there, in front of Fox News' Greta Van Susteren and the far-right-leaning folks who hang on the network's every word, and admit that abstinence, while a swell concept for birth control, is "not realistic at all."
As we used to say when I was 18: