Published 12:00 am Monday, January 28, 2008

By Bill Fesperman
For the Salisbury Post
For us crazed baseball fans, this winter’s searing subject in the “Hot Stove League” has been the heat generated by the Mitchell Report on the use of steroids in the nation’s beloved game.
Though our sensibilities have been singed, we were not surprised. This sordid business had already been well documented in the 2006 book “Game of Shadows” by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams.
And we knew that the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, would slither under the nearest base to hide from the light case by a revelation he himself prayed for, however insincerely.
But the Mitchell Report is not the really great historic baseball event of this new year of 2008.
That would be this: 2008 marks the 100th year since the Lovable Losers, the Chicago Cubs, have won a World Series. In 1908, the Cubbies beat Detroit in the series four games to one. The Cubs were last in the World Series in 1945, when they lost to Detroit 4-3.
A 63-year drought inside a 100-year plague. Include this parable in the Biblical canon.
A century of sorrow. As the late, iconic Hall of Fame Cubs’ broadcaster Harry Caray might shout from his booth above Elysian Field in heaven: “H-o-l-y c-o-w!”
OK, think of the Cubs like the Confederacy: a lost cause; and their manager like Stonewall Jackson, shot by his own men.
Assuming the cloak of baseball’s Nostradamus, I predict reconstruction, nee resurrection (without steroids or Viagra) in 2008.
Imagine a World Series between the equally storied Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. These legendary franchises are cloistered in two of the most ancient cathedrals in American sports: Fenway Park (1912) and Wrigley Field (1914).
Of course, the Cubs will lose for some dumb reason. A game-winning runner falls down between third and home, tagged out on the rump. An outfielder dives for a dinger, landing in the centerfield ivy, and is lost forever. A beer-bagged bleacher bum rides a goat onto the field of dreams in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded.
Then, Cubs fans worldwide will rise to their feet and choir forth a new old hymn: “Wait ’till 2108!”
Gee, whiz, I can’t wait myself. I’ll only be a young old whippersnapper of 165 by then.
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Bill Fesperman sits by his hot stove in China Grove.