As long as Gerard brought it up, on a day when I was content to retire my #14 Trib rant, yeah, Kerry Wood did have a lousy day. For whatever reason, the Man With The Glass Arm is our closer and Caros Marmol his set-up man. So be it. At least when losses start to pile up on blown saves, even goat-worshiping Curse fans won’t be able to blame the supernatural when they’ve got Kerry Wood. Or so I thought, until I read Jay Mariotti‘s column, devoted entirely to breaking the spirit of Kosuke Fukudome with talk of voo doo in Wrigley.
(CSTB mascot Tanner Boyle, on hearing he was traded to Jay Mariotti’s column today)
But there was a pause in the interview room. And a blank stare from Fukudome. Because even on a day when he made headlines, here and abroad, the $48-million import also received his first dose of Cubdom. It wasn’t enough to trash Milwaukee’s bearded, washed-up Eric Gagne, who was rescued when the Brewers nicked Bob Howry for a run in the 10th and won 4-3 … the Cubs turned what should have been a historic afternoon into another trademark loss. But then, this is what the Cubs do. This is who the Cubs are. Maybe Fukudome is starting to understand the pain.
“We lost the game. I wish we could have won,” he said through Araki. “It was great that I had a home run to tie the game, but since we lost the game, it values a little less.”
Mariotti went further, even disputing Moises Alou, who recently came to the defense of Curse poster boy Steve Bartman. And note Mariotti’s rather suspicious invocation of Bad News Bear Tanner Boyle in a Cub reference, done in this space not one week ago by yours truly.
Yet it also seems a good time to issue a cobwebbed reminder about Cubdom: Never, ever tempt fate. Do not pick this team to win the World Series, as a shocking number of media have done in this 100th-anniversary season. Do not coin the cryptic phrase “Cubbie occurrence,” as Lou Piniella did in spring training. Do not roll out a statue for a legend and let him declare, “This is the year,” as Ernie Banks said. Do not foresee the Cubs and Detroit playing for a championship as they did in 1908, which Sports Illustrated predicts. And do not tell the Associated Press that the Bartman Ball wasn’t catchable anyway, as Moises Alou revealed when he ran into columnist Jim Litke at a Macy’s department store in New York City.
“Everywhere I play, even now, people still yell, `Bartman! Bartman!’ I feel really bad for the kid,” Alou said. “Know what the funny thing is? I wouldn’t have caught it, anyway.”
Then why did Alou whip down his glove in left field like Tanner Boyle in the “Bad News Bears” movie? Why did he complain about it so angrily after the game? I know, I know — it was five years ago, let it go. But such revelations only reconfirm that Cubdom is spooked.
Well, Jay, maybe because either way it was a play that could have changed the game? I thought Alou showed some class, especially after the way the Cubs dumped him. As for your attempt to discourage Fukudome after his first Cubs game and a three run knock in the 9th … well, blow me. Since you don’t let readers leave comments on your column site anymore, I’m at least happy to know you’re reading CSTB for ideas.