Up, down and everything in between

In the immortal words of Buddy Bell, "Don't ever say it can't get worse.''

That was among the pearls of wisdom tossed around in dugouts in the first half of a 2006 season that was full of highs and lows. Other memorable lines included the classic, "Can anyone make a play out there?'' uttered by Minnesota's Kyle Lohse shortly before he was shipped to Triple-A, and Michael Barrett's confession, "I do feel sorry for the kids that were watching.''

In fairness, Barrett was referring to the right jab he landed on A.J. Pierzynski's chin on May 20, but it works well as a blanket description for the Cubs' overall play.

Here's hoping fans in places like Kansas City, Pittsburgh and on the north side of Chicago will enjoy the second half of '06 better than the first. You know it's going to be a blast for fans in places like Boston, New York, Detroit and -- now we're grasping at straws -- San Diego?

Your 30-team glance ahead to the second half:

Phil Rogers is the national baseball writer for the Chicago Tribune, which has a Web site at www.chicagosports.com. His book, "Say It's So," a story about the 2005 White Sox, is available at bookstores, through amazon.com or direct order from Triumph Publishing (800-222-4657).