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The Inside Track | Page Two

Cub Fans Always Waiting for the Other Fly to Drop

September 25, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

We hold certain truths to be self-evident, such as life, liberty and the inevitability that the Chicago Cubs will blow it before they win another World Series.

I take comfort in that. I'm no Biblical scholar, but I'm pretty sure it's in Revelations that if the Cubs ever win it all, we should start looking for a storm shelter or at least head to the store for bottled water and batteries.

The Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908, or even been in one since 1945, which, the late Chicago columnist Mike Royko wrote, shouldn't count because all the teams used players who weren't healthy enough to fight in World War II. The problem with the Cubs, Royko said, was that they continued to use 4-Fs after the war.

There are other equally rational theories, such as the curse fan Sam Sianis put on the Cubs when they wouldn't allow him to take his billy goat into Wrigley Field.

The hex raised its horns again Wednesday, when left fielder Brant Brown, sent into the game for defensive purposes, dropped a fly ball, enabling Milwaukee to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth of an 8-7 victory.

If the Cubs lose the National League wild-card berth to the Mets or Giants by one game, Brown is destined to go down in history alongside such other notorious Chicagoans as Mrs. O'Leary's cow, Al Capone and Don Young.

You might not remember Young, but Chicagoans do. He was the center fielder who dropped a fly ball off the bat of the Mets' Donn Clendenon. Although that occurred on July 8, Cub fans still contend it was that game that cost them the 1969 pennant and gave birth to the Miracle Mets phenomenon.

More recently, in 1984, the Cubs were within a couple of innings of going to the World Series when first baseman Leon Durham failed to get his glove down for Tim Flannery's ground ball, starting a rally in the decisive Game 5 that propelled San Diego to the NL pennant.

Durham later complained that his first baseman's mitt was too heavy for him to handle with his usual deftness because a teammate had accidentally dropped it into the Gatorade bucket.

With Brown's miscue Wednesday, these words from political columnist George Will came to mind:

"For most fans, the saddest words of tongue or pen are, 'Wait till next year.' For us Cub fans, the saddest words are, 'This is next year.' "

*

Who is Brant Brown? . . .

He's a former third-round draft choice from Fresno State projected by the Cubs as Mark Grace's eventual successor at first base. . . .

Ryan Minor is trying to fill Cal Ripken Jr.'s shoes. So Minor doesn't need his. They've been sent to the Hall of Fame. . . .

Minor will be at third base on a more permanent basis if Ripken moves to first base, which he will if the Orioles can't sign Rafael Palmeiro. . . .

Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone is the guest tonight on Irv Kaze's show on KIEV/870. . . .

Here's hoping Kaze can pin down Malone on whether he intends to pursue Felipe Alou as Dodger manager. . . .

Even though the Expos were out of the National League East race the day they left spring training, they've played hard all season. . . .

Witness their three-game sweep in August that sent the Dodgers reeling in the wild-card race. . . .

Or the Expos' five victories over the Mets in the last two weeks. . . .

Need another reason to go after Alou? Moises Alou says he'd like to play for his dad again. . . .

Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi says he's going after a premier free agent who can add power to the offense. . . .

He can't name names because of tampering rules, but I can. Mo Vaughn or Mike Piazza. . . .

E-2: I should have written that Chris Pronger, not brother Sean, was a Norris Trophy candidate. Two minutes in the penalty box for me. . . .

The visit by the U.S. women's soccer team to Tipper Gore at the vice president's mansion Wednesday went as scheduled. . . .

Officials worried that they might have to move it to the White House if the Gores changed addresses. . . .

Ricky Williams couldn't detour Cade McNown's Heisman chances, but maybe Hurricane Georges will. . . .

UCLA's nationally televised game at Miami was probably the only one in which East Coast voters could have seen him at a reasonable hour.

*

While wondering when Sugar Shane Mosley will start moving up on those best-pound-for-pound-fighter lists, I was thinking: Mike Tyson is crazy to pay his accountant $325 an hour, George Foreman--with five sons named after him--wakes up every morning to Hurricane Georges, the Angels must feel like they ran up against Walker, Texas Ranger.

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