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Cactus League Crosstown Crossfire

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Mar 28, 2006 6:15PM

2005_09_sports_hohokam.jpgWe're still a week away from baseball's Opening Day, but the crosstown rivalry between the White Sox and Cubs is already in mid-season form. The two teams played against each other in front of a HoHoKam Park record crowd of 12,894 in a Cactus League game yesterday. The game ended in a 4-4 tie after 9 innings. The Cubs rallied from a 4-2 defecit in the final frame, but prior to that Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen had signaled to Cubs manager Dusty Baker that he wasn't interested in playing extra innings -- a luxury of these being exhibition games.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker was miffed at the tie, wanting to play at least another inning to try and determine a winner. Ozzie Guillen claimed he was out of pitchers, asking the media, "What do you want me to do, pitch [Pablo] Ozuna?" OK, he was joking, and the Sox weren't that low on pitchers, having only used three during the game. But he's got them on schedules in preparation for Opening Day, and there's no point in risking injury or simply throwing off their training schedules.

Of course, Guillen's got nothing to prove in 2006 -- he is the manager of the reigning World Series champs. Baker is in the final year of a contract, and his teams haven't lived up to expectations the past two seasons. A win over the crosstown rival, even if a meaningless spring training game, would have meant something to him and the Cubs.