Cubs fans across the nation turned on their televisions at 7 p.m. central time Wednesday expecting to watch lefty Sean Marshall lead their team to a series victory over the Houston Astros. Instead, they were greeted by back-to-back episodes of “Becker” and “Home Improvement.”

Apparently, the game was played at 1 p.m.

A quick look at the box score confirmed the early start time for the game in which Houston starter Chris Sampson, formerly listed on the schedule as “TBD,” held the Cubs to just three hits in his Major League debut. Marshall also pitched well, but his undoing was a solo shot by Astros catcher Brad Ausmus.

Sampson was a shortstop until 1999, and then quit baseball to coach at a community college before returning to pro ball in 2003 as a pitcher.

After the game, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez admitted that even he had never heard of Chris Sampson, and also thought the game started at seven, which explains why he went 0-4, only making solid contact once all game.

Number of the day: 0
Fans who were surprised to learn that Kerry Wood is on his way to visit a doctor and may be headed back to the disabled list.

heckler editorial staff