The Yankees come to Wrigley Field Friday without Derek Jeter, whose likeness the Cubs appropriated in ads to bolster their preseason ticket sales. Making matters worse for the Cubs’ attendance hopes is that Jeter suddenly will not have a chance to reach 3,000 hits this weekend since the Yanks placed him on the DL Wednesday.

Bombers co-owner Hal Steinbrenner feels a degree of guilt over the mess of a franchise the Cubs have become and has offered to let Tom Ricketts borrow some “baseball people” for the extent of the three-game interleague series.

“We hear the Cubs can’t give tickets away and their fans who bother to show up have been bailing out of Wrigley in the third inning,” Steinbrenner said, and adds that he is willing to let Ricketts pick the brains of Yogi Berra and the Aflac duck for pearls of wisdom in an effort to straighten out the joke of an organization the Cubs have turned into.

Yogi Berra says he is happy to try to help the Cubs and is in the process of creating a spin-off Berraism based on his classic line, “No one goes there anymore since it’s too crowded.” Berra will also make calls from Jim Hendry’s office phone to procure starting pitching in the form of Early Wynn and Bob Feller. “The Cubs could use a guy like Al Lopez to manage them,” Berra said while waiting for an operator to pick up and patch him through to Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.

The Aflac duck will try to do what he does best, which is find maximum clutch hitting talent at a nominal cost. For his part, Ricketts doesn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but he is concerned that the Aflac duck isn’t the same anymore without Gilbert Gottfried’s voice.

By Rob C. Christiansen