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Everyone jacked for Yanks-Cubs
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06/06/2003  7:21 PM ET 
Everyone jacked for Yanks-Cubs
By Mark Newman / MLB.com Vote now for the 2003 All-Star game
Baseball's Best: Yanks/Cubs in 1938 World Series

CHICAGO -- The Yankees-Cubs series has been called the hottest ticket of the year, with the series long being sold out and fans flying in from all around the country to watch this historic matchup. But fans aren't the only ones jacked for the games.

In the Yankees' clubhouse, Jason Giambi turns from his locker and looks up at the TV above. Cubs GM Jim Hendry is live on ESPN News, announcing that their slugger, Sammy Sosa, would be suspended for eight games pending appeal. Giambi turns back to his locker and slips on his jersey in preparation for an historic day at Wrigley Field. Hideki Matsui weaves through a horde of writers, courteously nodding to each. David Wells breaks up the quiet with a jolt, putting a raucous CD in the clubhouse stereo like he owns the joint.

On the field, Cubs broadcasters Chip Caray and Steve Stone stand side-by-side and just soak up the atmosphere as the buzz intensifies. "It's living history," Caray says. "I was just thinking that you've had Red Barber, Mel Allen, Harry Caray, Jack Brickhouse -- all those legendary voices who worked games for these teams. To sit in that seat for this series is living history. This is a game that doesn't need an emcee. Steve and I will be in the booth, but this series tells itself."

Stone adds: "For everything you can say about this series, one thing that stands out is that it's just good baseball. It's a great thing for the game, two teams coming in leading their respective divisions. This is fun."

Don Zimmer is just glad to be here. Maybe happier than just about anyone. Zim managed the 1989 Cubs to the National League West title, before Will the Thrill knocked them out. Now the thrill is Zim's, coming here as Joe Torre's bench coach. Popeye's back home. "I had people for the last two months sending my wife letters with blank checks in them, trying to get tickets," Zimmer says, swarmed by a World Series-style media horde. "It's not the money -- you can't get tickets. Look at this place! Number one is the ivy on the walls (turning around to point it out). That's an historic thing. When I say Wrigley and Fenway are my favorite parks, the young players go, 'Aw, you're an old-timer. Well, I am an old-timer. And I still like the old parks."

Wrigley is the second-oldest park in the Majors, behind Fenway and just ahead of Yankee Stadium. You can picture Gehrig stroking his final career hit here at the 1938 World Series. Ghosts are everywhere for these three days of heaven. You can see Hack Wilson driving in run after run.

Look over at the visitors' dugout now and there's Clemens, making his latest pre-300 news conference. "There's a lot of history that has come through here," he says, seeming to enjoy this unlikely early-June show. "It's going to be a lot of fun. It doesn't happen that often. A lot of these players, especially the young guys, are getting to see people they don't usually see."

Mark Newman is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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