Cubs lead Series going back to Boston
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

The Page 2 alternate universe World Series between the Cubs and the Red Sox continues with the series tied 1-1 heading to Wrigley Field ...

CHICAGO -- Like Michigan Avenue during rush hour, most of Chicago was at a standstill today in anticipation of Wrigley Field's first World Series since tavern-keeper Billy Sianis placed a curse on the team for banning his goat from the 1945 Fall Classic.

Antonio Alfonseca
Alfonseca can't express his feelings. Maybe because he doesn't have a middle finger.
"Now that the Billy Goat Curse has been lifted, we are determined to prevent any future curses," Cubs president Andy MacPhail said. "Therefore, we are banning reliever Antonio Alfonseca from Wrigley Field."

With interest in the game at a fever pitch, tickets are so expensive for the games here that the only people who can afford them are the players themselves.

Meanwhile, Boston manager Grady Little announced during the Red Sox workout that he will start Pedro in Game 3. "He's our ace," Little explained. "He's the best guy I have and I think he has enough gas left in his tank. Besides, he had a day off."

Chicago is enjoying a lovely Indian Summer and the weather forecast for Game 3 on Tuesday is for clear skies and a high of 70. The transportation of doomed souls in Hell, however, has backed up due to a two-inch layer of ice on the River Styxx.

CHICAGO -- Wrigley Field hosted its first World Series game in 58 years, and the earlier series animosity returned before the game even started when an enraged Manny Ramirez charged the mound during the ceremonial first pitch.

With tensions rising the entire game, all hell finally broke loose during the seventh-inning stretch. Guest singer Ozzy Osbourne was performing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when Roger Clemens, honored in a pregame ceremony for his outstanding career, grabbed Sammy Sosa's bat from the on-deck circle and fired it into the pressbox. Ozzy grabbed the bat and instinctively bit off the head, revealing to a world-wide TV audience that it was, in fact, an aluminum bat.

Sammy Sosa
"Honestly, cheating was the only way we could win."
Sammy was ejected and suspended for the rest of the series and his entire career statistics were brought into serious question.

"It was an honest mistake," Sammy said while filing an immediate appeal with the commissioner. "I accidentally brought it to the on-deck circle. That's the bat I usually use when I want to impress the ladies."

The incident delayed the game for 20 minutes. Tim McCarver filled the time by explaining the process of producing aluminum by electrically heating a mixture of crushed bauxite, sodium hydroxide and cryolite ore to 1,750 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Until this production process was developed, aluminum was more valuable than gold," McCarver continued in the bottom of the ninth. "It was so valuable that Napoleon III served meals to his guests on aluminum plates."

Moises Alou homered onto Waveland Avenue in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 victory and a 2-1 series lead. TV cameras didn't show the joyous celebration in the streets, however, instead opting to air shots of Felipe Alou staring blankly out at the field.

CHICAGO -- In addition to Alfonseca, the Cubs have now banned all goats, black cats and marlins from Wrigley Field, plus the Rally Monkey, Mrs. O'Leary's cow, the white tiger that mauled Roy, and 2003 Triple Crown winner Zippy Chippy.

The new bans worked. The Cubs moved to within one victory of their first world championship in 95 years when Mark Prior shut out Pedro and Boston 1-0 in Game 4. With Sammy Sosa serving the first game of his suspension, the Cubs failed to get a runner on base through the first seven innings, but they finally scratched across a run in the eighth inning.

Randall Simon
"I got your back, Don Zimmer."
That rally came after Pedro finally was knocked out of the game. He'd pitched the first 37 innings of the series; but on his way to the mound to pitch the eighth, Randall Simon hit him over the head with a bat while Martinez ran past the Cubs dugout. "I thought he was part of the sausage race," Simon explained.

When reporters pointed out the sausage race is in Milwaukee, not Chicago, Simon replied that he was confused by Dr. Phil's version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," in which the TV advice guru sang the previously unknown verse, "Wake up to the fact he doesn't love you, get out of your bad marriage, find a job, earn your keep and buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack."

The Cubs scored the game's only run when Michael Jordan and Ryne Sandberg both came out of retirement again and delivered back-to-back doubles off Tim Wakefield's only two pitches to give Chicago a 3-1 lead in the series.

CHICAGO -- Taking every possible precaution, the Cubs extended their Wrigley Field ban to Steve Bartman, Ferris Bueller, the music group Paper Lace and, just to be safe, Brian Urhlacher and Paris Hilton. It didn't work. One strike from their first world championship in 95 years, the Cubs fell victim to a bizarre play that cost them the game and sent the World Series back to Fenway Park.

Fenway Park
The Red Sox in a Game 7 against the Yanks? Hey, who wouldn't put the logo down early.
Things certainly looked good for Chicago when Commissioner Bud Selig cleared Sammy to play while his suspension is under appeal and Sosa responded with a Series-record four home runs to help the Cubs build a 9-0 lead. The lead looked so insurmountable that guest performers Chicago sang "We Are the Champions" instead of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame'' during the seventh-inning stretch.

But with two outs in the ninth, nobody on base and the entire Boston team boarding the bus for the airport, Manny Ramirez popped up Kerry Wood's 0-2 pitch to shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Just before Gonzalez could make the catch, however, Bartman forced his way past guards, ran onto the field, crashed into Gonzalez and knocked the ball out of his glove.

Gonzalez still had time to throw out Manny, who was standing in the batter's box and calling to arrange a meeting time at the Ritz-Carlton with Yankees infielder Enrique Wilson. Instead, Gonzalez threw the ball into the dugout and the Red Sox went on to score 10 runs. Cubs manager Dusty Baker attempted to stop Boston's relentless rally but he couldn't call the Cubs bullpen because all the phone lines in the area were tied up during an in-game promotion for a cellular service.

The Red Sox went on to win 10-9, returning the series to Boston. Red Sox ownership anticipated the return by chartering a plane to Washington D.C. so President Bush could congratulate them on their world championship.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for



Jim Caple Archive

Caple: Another World's Series

Caple: A damn shame

Caple: Little blew it

Sportoon: Curses!

Caple: Public enemy

Minkoff: Curses, foiled again

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