10/15/2003 3:43 PM ET
Red Sox fans feel Cubs' pain
NEW YORK -- Denny Yates was already hurting as he watched the horror unfold, and while it wasn't exactly his horror, something felt familiar about it.
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
A lifelong Red Sox fan, Yates was back at home from Fenway Park on Tuesday night, still struggling to put a positive spin on his team's demoralizing loss to the Yankees in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
He turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels, looking for something to distract him from his pain. And there it was. Game 6 of the NLCS between the Cubs and Marlins. Eighth inning.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he said Wednesday, recounting the instantly famous series of bizarre events that turned Chicago's 3-0 lead into an 8-3 loss. "I mean, five outs from the [World] Series, and the earth just opened up and swallowed that city whole. I mean, you gotta be kidding me. A fan takes an out from his own team? An error on one of the easiest ground balls I've ever seen?
"There's only two teams in the world that kind of stuff would ever happen to -- the Cubbies or the Sox. It was like a reminder: Yes, you're both still cursed."
Not that Yates has given up hope. If he didn't think Boston could climb back from the brink of elimination for a second consecutive series and win two in a row at Yankee Stadium, he wouldn't have set his alarm for 6 a.m. ET Wednesday to drive to Manhattan.
He wouldn't have scrambled to book a hotel room -- "Two nights," he said defiantly -- that cost him and his wife something in the neighborhood of $500.
And he certainly wouldn't have dragged his wife, Jules, with him.
"She's English. She can't stand baseball. Doesn't get it," Yates said. "But I told her, 'If they pull this off, it'll be the greatest moment of my life, and I want you to be a part of it.'"
"Greater than our wedding day?" Jules asked with mock indignation.
"Sorry," Denny said. "Second-greatest day. Number 1-A."
Denny Yates wasn't the only Sox fan in the Bronx on Wednesday who could relate to Chicago's nightmare. Several people bold enough to be wearing bright red said they watched the game and had similar feelings. But just as many saw it as something of a positive.
"The way I see it, it wasn't such a bad thing," said Cam Davies, who lives just outside of Brooklyn but was born in Brookline, Mass. "I truly believe that this is the year for both teams to meet in the World Series, and it just wouldn't be the Sox and Cubs if there wasn't some heartbreak along the way."
Just then one of the powerful gusts of wind that was battering the Bronx -- local forecasts said they were reaching 30 to 35 mph -- ripped the Red Sox hat off Davies' head, and what happened next was something right out of Yates' it-could-only-happen-to-us book.
As his hat tumbled end-over-end behind him, Davies turned to run and chase it, but seconds later the chase was over. A hulking man in a satin Yankees jacket and a Yankees cap had helped him out.
Davies walked the final few steps slowly, stopping just in front of the man to grudgingly give him a "thanks."
And with that, the hulking Yankees fan, now grinning ear to ear at the symbolism of the moment, lifted his big black boot to release the cap.
"Ouch," Davies said. "Time to get a new hat."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.