LEAVE FOUL BALL GUY ALONE

Are stadium ushers going to have to interview fans now before seating them along the foul lines? Is it going to have to be like an airline exit row? "If you are unwilling or unable to not catch the damn ball when a member of your own team is attempting to make an out in post-season play, please alert the management and we will reseat you to the 7,259th row." You can't blame the Cubs' horrific collapse all on The Guy Who Caught The Foul Ball, though. They did some fine self-immolation of their own. I don't want the Cubs representing the best of America's Pastime if they're going to fold up, shrieking, every time a foul ball doesn't go their way. My mother had a Psychic Moment last night about the game. We talked on the phone in the 8th, and she said, "I think I'll turn it off. They're making me nervous because they can still blow it." This is her strategy in dealing with any sporting event that becomes the least bit in question for the favored team: Flee. (She saw exactly four seconds of Super Bowl XXIII,then went into the living room and watched State Fair for the rest of the night.) It's an inherited trait. I will never forget visiting my grandparents' house on the night the Reds swept the World Series in 1990. At the beginning of the game, some guy on the A's got a hit, and as he watched the ball bounce between two Reds my grandfather shook his head and reached for the remote, saying, "They're going to lose it, the A's will win four in a row, and that's gonna be it." Oh, it's nothing but fun, growing up in a German family.

I told my mother there was no need for this kind of behavior, and right that second The Guy Who Caught the Foul Ball caught the foul ball. All the commotion rattled the pitcher and there was a passed ball. She said, "I'm turning it off." I said, "Okay, Clete," (that was my grandfather's name) because the score was still 3-0. And then we hung up and then I blinked and then it was 7-3. I grew up in Cincinnati, and child, I have never seen a team self destruct so firmly so fast. (One guy on the radio polled the audience on their opinion if Cubs are cursed or if they just simply suck. One guy said: "They suck so much that God cursed them.") This all leads back, obviously, to Gary Stevens. Gary recently said that he thinks that what caused Storming Home to shy and dump him in the Arlington Million was the distraction of a photographer alongside the course. "If his location can be found," Gary said, "well, let's just say there's a bounty on his head." See, it's all coming together now. Where did the Million take place? CHICAGO. Where did The Guy Who Caught the Foul Ball catch the foul ball? CHICAGO.


We do not have these problems in Cincinnati.


October 15, 2003

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