Chicago was three runs ahead and five outs away from the World Series. Boston was three runs and five outs from the World Series. Chicago had their ace pitching a shutout at home. Boston had their ace pitching a masterpiece away.
And then a fan reached out for a ball he would have done well to leave alone.
And then a manager made the decision to let his ace go that little bit longer.
And then thoughts turned to next year.
It’s been 58 years since Chicago refused to grant entrance to a goat at Wrigley Field. It’s been 85 years since Boston sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. It’s been 58 years since Chicago last went to the World Series, and 85 years since Boston won.
Makes you want to believe in ghosts, doesn’t it?
Chicago had its two best pitchers going in games six and seven. Mark Prior had been practically unhittable all post season long. He had been unhittable all day. Then “that fan” reached for “that foul ball,” and Chicago simply imploded.
You could hear whispers of the curse already. In fact, there was almost an inevitability to Chicago’s loss in game seven, even after Kerry Wood hit his two-run homer to tie the game and Alou hit his two-run homer to take the lead. It seemed to be merely the lull before the storm.
So do ghosts walk baseball fields on cool October nights? Judging from the evidence, one would have to say yes, they do.