Year of road kill

Winning on the road always has been tough in the major leagues but never more so than this season.

Entering play Friday, American League teams were playing .570 ball (264-199) at home and .434 (204-266) on the road. National League teams were romping at a .584 pace (315-224) at home and sputtering at a .412 clip (219-313) on the road.

Some road records as of Friday: Atlanta, 7-24; Colorado, 10-24; Cincinnati, 12-24; San Diego, 10-20; Seattle, 10-23; and Kansas City, 13-23.

And the list goes on.

What's up with all the heinous road records? Bad room service? Lumpy hotel mattresses? Smelly taxi drivers?

"I don't think people realize how weary travel can make you," said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. "We've already had three three-city trips (the Cubs have had none), and we have another at the end of the month.

"This isn't like the NBA or the NFL, where you have time to get into a city. We're arriving at 2 and 3 in the morning after games. Security is tougher than it used to be. There's a lot going on."

Which is why you have to kick butt at home. The Cubs have figured that out, building a 29-8 record at Wrigley Field.

Playing games

Remember when Alex Rodriguez called "I got it" while running from second base to third in Toronto, causing Howie Clark to let a pop fly fall in? He did it again last Tuesday, tricking Oakland's Dana Eveland into a balk.

As Eveland was going into his delivery, Rodriguez backed out of the box and loudly yelled, "Time, time!" Eveland thought it was the umpire and stopped his motion, causing a balk.

The move annoyed many A's players but not Eveland, who felt no need to retaliate with a brushback pitch on Rodriguez's next at-bat. "Why?" he asked. "I was kind of impressed. If he did it on purpose, I'm impressed."

A mighty wind

There's always a buzz in Chicago when the Cubs and White Sox mix it up in interleague play. But the noise will be louder than normal with the prospect of both clubs being in first place when they tangle next weekend at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs and White Sox, by the way, are tied, 30-30, in interleague play.

"I know it will be hyped up, and rightfully so," said Cubs second baseman Mark DeRosa . "It's fun, it's a hot topic to talk about, and they're playing well and we're playing well." — Combined wire services

TOP 10

BALLPARK EDITION

TEAM . . . . . Last week

1. Chicago Cubs . . . . . 1

Wrigley Field (1914)

2. Boston Red Sox . . . . . 2

Fenway Park (opened 1912)

3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim . . . . . 3

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (1966)

4. Tampa Bay Rays . . . . . 4

Tropicana Field (1990)

5. Philadelphia Phillies . . . . . 5

Citizens Bank Park (2004)

7. St. Louis Cardinals . . . . . 7

Busch Stadium (2006)

6. Chicago White Sox . . . . . 6

U.S. Cellular Field (1991)

8. Arizona Diamondbacks . . . . . 8

Chase Field (1998)

9. Florida Marlins . . . . . 9

Dolphin Stadium (1987)

10. Milwaukee Brewers . . . . . 10

Miller Park (2001)

Dropped out: None — Aaron Morton

FANTASY TIP

It's hardly an unusual occurrence for the justice system to have an impact on fantasy baseball. Whether it's an infielder with visa problems, a pitcher charged with drug possession or a slugger facing a grand jury indictment, legal issues are just one more factor that can affect a player and his fantasy value.

But it is unusual for the justice system - especially the Supreme Court - to have an impact on fantasy baseball itself. That's what happened last week when the justices refused to hear Major League Baseball's case against fantasy provider CDM Sports and its parent company.

The issue, as most fantasy players are well aware, is whether MLB and the players association "own" the rights to a player's name and statistics - and can charge companies for using them in their fantasy games. Ultimately, an appeals court decision sided with the fantasy industry and the First Amendment.

And there was much rejoicing in fantasy quarters. USA Today