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High & Inside: NL Notes

South Florida and baseball go together like poker and rap music. In other words, they're not very compatible.

Sleeping with the Fish

South Florida and baseball go together like poker and rap music.

In other words, they're not very compatible.

On Monday night, the temperature was a pleasant 80 degrees, Cincinnati pitching sensation Edinson Volquez was on the mound, and, more important, classy Ken Griffey Jr. was going for his historic 600th homer against the hometown Florida Marlins.

Yet barely 16,000 fans showed up at Dolphin Stadium.

It's a shame Griffey hit his 600th homer that night. Miami didn't deserve to be a part of history.

Cubs fever

While fans casting American League all-star votes have been brainwashed by Red Sox Nation (see Low & Outside), they also have made some questionable decisions in the NL, where every Cub except Ernie Banks seems to be in contention for a starting berth.

Griffey, who has pedestrian statistics (.260, seven homers, 29 RBIs entering last night), does not deserve to be the third-highest vote-getter among outfielders. But at least you can understand the sentimentality.

There are, however, at least 10 outfielders more deserving than the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome (second in the voting), and Florida's Hanley Ramirez is having a much better year than Houston's Miguel Tejada, the top vote-getter at shortstop. And you could make a strong case that Atlanta's Brian McCann and San Francisco's Bengie Molina are having stronger seasons than the leading catcher, rookie Geovany Soto of the Cubs.

A Cub ranks No. 1 or 2 in every position except shortstop, where Ryan Theriot is No. 3.

There's no truth to the rumor that Don Kessinger is No. 4.

Mets a mess

As if the floundering New York Mets didn't have enough problems, outfielder Ryan Church, still slowed by the effects of a concussion nearly three weeks ago, went on the disabled list yesterday. The move was retroactive to Friday.

Et cetera

Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, leading the major leagues in hitting at .420, was out of the lineup for a second straight game last night because of a small tear in his right quadriceps. . . . The Reds put infielder-outfielder Jerry Hairston on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken thumb, and will be minus reliever Gary Majewski for a few days while his wife has a baby.. . . . St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright (6-3, 3.14) was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, with a sprained right middle finger. . . . The Braves purchased the contract of former Padres and Mets righthander Brian Lawrence, 32, from the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League. He'll be assigned to Class AAA Richmond. The former San Diego 15-game winner was 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA for Camden, with 32 strikeouts and nine walks. . . . Atlanta's loss to the Cubs last night in Chicago left the Braves with a major-league-worst 7-22 road record.