Red Sox. Better pitching staff than the Yankees, and one of the most explosive offenses in baseball. They take homefield advantage away from New York and come back to Boston tied 1-1, only to lose two games at Fenway. Amongst the losses:
- One of the most bizarre incidents in baseball history, with a charging 70-year-old Don Zimmer being grabbed by the head and thrown to the ground by starting pitcher Pedro Martinez, and Yankees pitcher Jeff Nelson and outfielder Karim Garcia assaulting a Fenway groundskeeper in the Yankees bullpen.
- Bill Mueller bobbling away the game in game 5. The usually reliable Derek Lowe walks two batters. Then the ball is hit at third baseman Mueller. All he has to do is field the ball and step on third base to end the inning. But he decides he wants to throw across the diamond for the third out and bobbles the ball in the process. Subsequently, Yankees get two two-out hits to score three runs and win 4-2 to take a 3-2 series lead.
Cubs. They take an insurmountable 3-1 series lead but get beat in game 5. Series goes back to Chicago, Cubs leading the series 3-2 and sending their best pitcher -- one of the best pitchers in all of baseball -- to the mound. Going into the eighth inning, they lead 3-0. They get the first out. Four outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945. Then Marlins batter Luis Castillo lofts a fly ball down the 3rd base line. The ball is falling just foul, just over the railing in the stands. Moises Alou times it perfectly, jumps, positions his glove, and... "That Fan!" The moron with the Cubs hat and the headset on knocks the ball away at the last instant. Suddenly the mood changes. Focus is gone. Castillo gets on base. Two batters later Alex Gonzalez, the best fielding shortstop in the National League, bobbles a routine groundball. Rather than escaping the inning still leading 3-0, they give up 8 runs in the inning. Now the Cubs have to face elmination in a 7th game, when instead they should be celebrating their first World Series appearance in almost 60 years.
Is there any doubt that there is a curse? The Red Sox are cursed because they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The Cubs are cursed because they wouldn't let a certain farmer bring his goat into Wrigley Field. Both curses continue to rear their heads in ugly, painful ways. I know baseball doesn't deserve a Cubs-Red Sox World Series, but we fans of the game do. So I exhort all you fans of the game: Go sacrifice a goat at a Cubs altar! Keep vigil and perform ablutions at the Babe's grave! We must reverse the curse! For fans of the Cubs and Red Sox -- of baseball -- everywhere! Maybe, just maybe, if we all focus our energies and fervently pray, we can exorcise the demons that haunt Boston and Chicago.