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Posted June 16, 2005

Throwback Series

By Paul Noonan

              For years Cubs and Sox fans alike have waited for this.  Almost ninety years in the making, baseball's two most iconic and historical teams finally got a chance to return to the glory years of 1918.  For Cubs fans, that year represents another in the now nearing 100 in which they could not win the World Series.  For Sox fans, it began another difficult journey which lead to the Curse of the Bambino and 86 years of misery and heartache.  This past weekend in a small way gave the Cubs a chance to redeem, in someway, for the heartache the Sox have helped to add to.

             It's funny when you think had the Cubs won that series, where would the Sox be now?  Would they have even traded Babe Ruth, or held on to him knowing he was going to be the key to a World Series title?  If that was the case, the 'Curse' may never have existed, which means either the Sox would have been more successful in that 86 year span, or they would have to have found something else to blame their failures on, perhaps a farm animal.  If Ruth stayed, would he have hit more home runs or less in the friendlier confines of Fenway?  Would his number 3 be hanging in the rafters instead of adorning the back of Edgar Renteria?  If Ruth had stayed, would it have been the Sox winning all those championship in the roaring twenties instead of the hated Yankees?  Without Ruth, would Mickey Mantle have become the dominant player he did, or would he have been a Roger Maris type wonder to quietly make a dent in the record books? 

             By the same token, how different would the Cubs present be if they had won that series?  At worst, they would be the ones in an eighty- some- odd year drought looking to break some mysterious curse, likely still the Billy Goat.  Or would that one title have changed their future for good?  Would that win have lead to a string of many, or better yet to an MLB record number or World Series victories?  Or would the Cubs owner trade away one of the fan favorites to finance his son's one man play of 'Chicago?'  

             The two teams accursed each other in that historic series long ago.  For the Sox, the curse has been lifted thanks to many prayers and the determination of a bunch of idiots.  However, to cure themselves, the Sox had to first eradicate the ghost himself, in his own house, by making their historical comeback in the ALCS.  After cleansing themselves of the 'Sultan' they were finally ready to end his curse.  For the Cubs, the Red Sox may be their Bambino.  After all, there isn't a Billy Goat Stadium, and certainly they couldn't play a team of Billy Goats.  But perhaps it is this series, which they have won, and this time at Wrigley instead of Comiskey- where they played in 1918- that will help get rid of that pesky goat.  For the Cubs this series could be a spark of hope that their long struggles will finally disappear.  Yet although this series could be the cure, perhaps it will take another equally as historical series at Fenway to do the trick.  

     For it may be the Green Monster that has been the cause of the Cubs' nightmares. 

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