A Series to Remember

Even with the World Series under way, fans are still shaking their heads in wonder - or bafflement - at last week's finals in the American and National leagues.

Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs partisans could be excused for their grief as they watched their beloved teams implode - again. Instead of the Fenway-Wrigley World Series many had hoped for (in Boston and Chicago, at least), the fall classic features the perennial-champion New York Yankees versus the Florida Marlins. The latter is an expansion team now in its second series, a fact not lost on fans of the Cubs, a team that hasn't been in a World Series since 1945.

The two league showdowns revealed baseball at its best and worst. Interest in the parallel races sent baseball's TV ratings soaring. Viewers saw awe-inspiring performances and memorable fluffs.

But Cubs fans - including the local media - went over the top in persecuting the hapless spectator who innocently interfered with Chicago left fielder Moises Alou's attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 7. Play on the field decided the game - the fan did not cause pitcher Mark Prior to throw bad pitches afterward, or shortstop Alex Gonzalez to flub what should have been an easy out.

A fracas at Fenway, meanwhile, made both the Sox and the Bronx Bombers look like playground bullies. The picture of Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez throwing Yankee coach Don Zimmer to the ground will stick in memory - not to baseball's credit.

That aside, the Cubs and Sox didn't lose because of some nonsensical "curses." The Yankees and the Marlins are highly skilled and never gave up. In a way, that's a good life lesson.

Now, play ball!

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