CHICAGO - Chicago fans believe that if one curse can be broken, so can another.
After watching the Red Sox sweep the World Series for their first title since 1918, Chicago is tantalized by the possibility of a baseball championship all its own after an even longer drought. And this city has two major league teams.
"It lets us know, whether or not you believe in curses, that if they are true, they can be overcome," said Dave Kunicki, who helps run a Cubs fan newsletter, the Heckler.
White Sox fans blame poor play, at least lately. But fans of the Lovable Losers claim their Cubs are cursed.
As the story goes, a local tavern owner put a hex on the team in 1945 when he wasn't allowed to bring his pet billy goat into Wrigley Field for a game. That was the last year the Cubs made an appearance in the World Series.
Meanwhile, the Cubs declined an $11.5-million mutual option on outfielder Moises Alou and will pay him a $2.5-million buyout. The Cubs also declined a $2.5-million option on second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, paying him a $250,000 buyout instead.
Grudzielanek then filed for free agency, as did Todd Walker, who filled in for Grudzielanek when he was hurt. Left-hander Glendon Rusch, right-hander Matt Clement and shortstop Ramon Martinez also filed for free agency.
Longtime Cubs analyst Steve Stone announced he was leaving WGN-TV, less than one month after coming under fire for on-air comments he made criticizing the team.
ASTROS: Craig Biggio's $3-million option was exercised, but Jeff Kent's $9-million option was declined and the second baseman will get a $700,000 buyout. As expected, All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran and reliever Dan Miceli filed for free agency.
DODGERS: Slugger Adrian Beltre filed for free agency - the same day he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove two large bone spurs from his left ankle. Beltre earned $5-million this year and figures to be one of the most attractive free agents on the market.
RANGERS: Reliever Frank Francisco will face a misdemeanor assault charge rather than a felony for breaking a woman's nose when he threw a chair into the stands during a game.
ROCKIES: The team and Jeromy Burnitz declined to exercise a $3-million mutual option, and the outfielder will get a $250,000 buyout.
WHITE SOX: Frank Thomas exercised his $8-million option, but general manager Ken Williams said he is not optimistic about being able to re-sign right fielder Magglio Ordonez after he filed for free agency.