I was in the press box at Wrigley Field in 2003 when Steve Bartman (left) deflected that foul ball and changed the course of Cubs history, and it was the first time I ever entertained the notion there was some supernatural force determined to keep baseball's most beleaguered team from reaching -- and winning -- the World Series.
Now, I'm pretty sure of it. How else do you explain the Cubs getting torched in the first two games of the Division Series after piling up the best home record in the National League and winning five of seven games over the Dodgers during the regular season?
How could this be happening when every ounce of numerological Karma in the universe would figure to be focused on the lovable Cubbies winning it all for the first time in exactly 100 years?
This much I know. It's not "The Curse of Billy Goat." No disgruntled farm animal has that kind of juice. There must be some other explanation for why Wrigley Field becomes the baseball version of the Bermuda Triangle in October. I wouldn't be surprised if they dug up center field and found a shipwreck.
The Cubs committed four errors -- one by each starting infielder -- to tie a Division Series record the day after starting pitcher Ryan Dempster walked the ballpark in the opener. Manager Lou Piniella certainly couldn't explain how his team has already allowed 17 runs in two games after allowing just 18 during the seven-game season series to the pre-Manny Dodgers.
"Those were probably the two worst games we've played all year from a walking and errors standpoint,'' he said afterward. "It wasn't much fun to watch. I can tell you that."