Whew! That was close. The world, as we know it, was about that close to chaos. Just imagine the turmoil that would have gripped the world in its icy claw had the Chicago Cubs AND the Boston Red Sox made their respective ways into the World Series.
Calamity. Armageddon. Apocalypse.
For starters, Osama and Saddam, realizing, finally, that good actually does always triumph over evil, skip, hand in hand, into the U.S Forces headquarters in Baghdad, waving a white flag, begging for mercy. The U.S. Military has nothing left to do.
The world's oil companies, realizing, finally, that they've made a pile of money in the last 50 years, would knock gasoline prices back to 29 cents a gallon. A mega-company CEO would be quoted as saying: “Hell, boys, we've made a croaker sack full of money, let's give a little bit back.”
The Texas legislature, urged by Governor Perry, would re-convene for a fourth time in less than a year and with just two days of bi-partisan, good-hearted debate, devise a state redistricting plan that protects minorities, majorities, farmers, oil and gas interests, Democrats, Republicans and the great unwashed masses that don't even vote.
Cotton prices skyrocket, buoyed by the sudden demand for souvenir tee shirts, imprinted with Cubs and Sox team logos. Tee-shirt printing companies keep presses running twenty-four seven, pushing out ALCS Champions, NLCS Champions, World Series 2003, World Series participant, World Series Champion (one for each team, just in case).
The public, from Chicago to Boston from Enigma, Georgia, to Happy, Texas, from Timbuktu to Shanghai, buy the apparel, understanding the historic repercussions of this miraculous event. Most fans buy two, one to frame, one to wear with pride. Cotton farmers laugh all the way to their mortgage holders.
Other commodity prices rise as grocers scurry to keep shelves filled with chips and cheese, bratwurst and beer, sushi and salsa. World Series parties threaten to empty the stores. Brewing companies double their payrolls to meet the demand. Unemployment disappears. More farmers pay off debts.
Of course that much good fortune simply would not do. Imagine the turmoil. The world just isn't ready for that many chickens in that many pots. Tight times are good for the soul, they keep folks humble, make them appreciate the finer things in life. The adjustment to peace and prosperity itself would cause undue stress.
And that kind of chaos was this close: The Cubs, in the bottom of the eighth inning of game six, five outs from their first trip to the World Series since 1945, their ace on the mound with a three-run lead and a foul ball hovering above the left field wall at Wrigley, waiting to fall into Moises Alou's dependable glove.
And The Curse continues: A fan, temporarily possessed by the ghost of the goatman, who put a curse on the Cubs in 1945 because they wouldn't sell him a ticket for his pet goat, grabbed for the falling ball, muffed the catch but knocked it away from the waiting glove. The Cubs disintegrate, lose game six and the outcome of seven is never in question because the curse is back.
And the Red Sox, in game seven, in the top of the eighth inning, facing the despised Yankees, with their most dependable pitcher on the mound, a three-run lead and five outs to go, can't clinch the deal. The Sox manager, temporarily possessed by the ghost of Babe Ruth, who, as you remember, Boston traded to New York, where he became arguably the most recognized name in baseball, allows Pedro Martinez to stay in the game three batters too long. Yankees tie the game.
That Boston would lose in extra innings was never in doubt. The curse of the Bambino saw to that.
As sportscaster Al Michaels would say, “Do you believe in miracles?” Well, it's getting kinda hard to.