"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) --
The "2001 dream teams" of the purists of baseball will have to wait a bit longer, maybe eons. The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are not destined to be competing in this year's Fall Classic/Festival. While the names alone - Wrigley and Fenway - would send chills up the spines of baseball traditionalists, create a frenzy in Chicago and atonement for the Sox, who have been seeking it since that errant play at first base against the Mets, this is not the year that two parks that should have been torn down in favor of condominiums or a shopping center will be in the limelight. Boston and Chicago will not host the World Series.
Fenway Park opened in 1912 for the Boston Red Sox. It has a natural grass surface and seats 33,871.
The Bostonians, with that ridiculous "Green Monster" that is a travesty and an insult to baseball, will continue to languish in the shadow of the Yankees. The curse of the Bambino does not go away easily, perhaps never. That is how it is and how it is meant to be. That is what Babe Ruth intended and there is no cure, no antidote that works. The New Yorkers have shifted into second gear this month, taken their brand of playing to the next level and can smell the September roses. Boston welcomed the return of some of their marquee players by getting worse.
The Cubs' state of the art line-up and seemingly class bullpen won't be enough. They will choke. That is their destiny. So let it be written, so let it be done. The Sox beefed up their apparently "ready for the Yankees" squad before the trading deadline and complemented that with the return of a few stellar veterans but the best their fans can do is recall the glory days of the Celtics if they want to take any sort of sports pride in their town.
The Cubs have not won a championship since 1908 and the Red Sox since 1918. That is how it should be. How it will be. The addition of Fred McGriff in Chicago and Ugueth Urbina in Boston are not the "final answer(s)." Regis Philbin has first call on that and he is not relinquishing rights easily. Besides, he is a dyed in the wool Yankee fan. The desperate fans on the North Side are salivating over the addition of David Weathers in the bullpen while their AL counterparts in Bean Town stopped just short of a "the war is over" type of parade thanks to the return of Nomar Garciaparra and Carl Everett. Pedro Martinez will join them in about a month...maybe. Then comes catcher Jason Varitek. Urbina will not put an end to the decline of the bullpen, which is only one step behind that of the Roman Empire.
Compared to these two ballparks, Little League is big league. They are the most antiquated and outdated insults to baseball in the majors. For those who believed it would never happen, your beliefs are safe. Getting your hopes up is equivalent to buying a tux and renting a limo for the trip to the state capital shortly after you purchased your lottery ticket, and hours before the drawing takes place. Ours is a nation dedicated to sports where fans love the underdog. Take away that role and they are just fans. Keep struggling and they will follow you into the Valley of Death, unarmed and naked. In that regard, Boston and Chicago are in great shape.
The Cubbies still have to contend with Houston, who is not out of it yet, the Giants are streaking to overtake the Cardinals and Dodgers, the Braves are priming for a final push to shove the Phillies as far back as possible, and all of them can take Chicago out of the picture when it comes down to it. In the junior circuit there are the boys who brought pinstripes into the game. Out west, the Mariners sincerely believe that their turn at bat has come and are backing that up every day of the season. That leaves the Sox bringing up the rear.
Wrigley Field opened in 1914 for the Chicago Cubs. It has a natural grass surface and seats 38,902.
It is not even the teams that have the attention of journalistic pundits and baseball historians. It is the parks. Everyone who was anyone has played in them. They have more history attached to them than the Book of Knowledge, with the singular exception of Yankee Stadium. Boston is a town where baseball has replaced basketball as the game of choice these days and Chicago forgot about the Bulls right after Michael Jordan departed for Baltimore. The Bears have yet to prove they can handle some of their pre-season press notices and the White Sox are still the "other team." That leaves the Cubs to deliver for the folks in the Windy City. They have their own version of what New Yorkers enjoy in Liza Minnelli of Frank Sinatra's rendition of New York, New York with My Kind of Town and Sinatra's voice primed and ready to deliver on national television. I just don't think so.
Does it look good in print? You bet. Is it a good bet that the two of them will deliver? Not with your money. The roads to the World Series will wind their way through Atlanta, San Francisco, New York and Seattle. What about Chicago and Boston? You gotta be kidding! Only with tickets.