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Dream World Series: Cubs-Red Sox

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© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 8, 2001

Grant me one sporting wish and I promise October delirium for two great cities with long, extraordinary, frustrating baseball histories.

World Series ... Cubs-Red Sox.

Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.

It'd be, this non-New Yorker thinks, hotter stuff than any old Subway Series matching Yankees with bygone Brooklyn Dodgers. Maybe the most stimulating, magnetic World Series ever.

Consider the principals.

Consider the locales.

Bleacher Bums. Green Monster.

If it's Red Sox and Cubs, one of them would have to win. Imagine if you can, Chicago's northside darlings celebrating their first World Series championship since 1908, a mere 93 years, a time when Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson were young phenoms.

If not a Cubs joy ride, we'd have Boston at last burying its "Curse of the Bambino," the nag of Beantown since Sox owner Harry H. Frazee peddled away young George Herman Ruth to the Bronx not long after the Fenway fellows achieved their most recent Series win in 1918.

Nah, it'll never happen.

We can't be that lucky.

CUP O' JOE: At 74, Joe Paterno is attempting something extremely rare, for him; rebounding from a losing season. Last year's record was an uncharacteristic, sobering 5-7 for a Penn State colossus who has won 322 games.

Joe Pa's overtaking of Paul "Bear" Bryant as major-college football's most victorious coach (323 wins) was delayed, but the celebration is nearing. Paterno can't look back. He is getting ample chase from Bobby Bowden of FSU, who at age 71 sits at 315.

"It depends on who survives, I guess," Paterno said in a recent interview. "It's really not that important to me. Bobby is a good friend, a great guy and a credit to our sport. What's the difference?"

For human and worldly depth, I'm not sure Bear, Bobby or any old coach matches Paterno. Joe and his wife, Sue, have made whopper donations to what has been named the Paterno Library on the PSU campus.

A bit more evidence

"My wife is reading a book called How the Irish Saved Civilization," Paterno said. "In the Dark Ages, Irish monks hand-copied all the books in existence. Saved all the books. Without that, we wouldn't know who we were, where we came from."

Asked what CD was in his player, Joe Pa said, "I've got Verdi's Requiem." I'm not sure what Bowden, Steve Spurrier, Bob Stoops and Phil Fulmer listen to these days.

UPPERCUTS: From the first pitch, I've seen the 2012 Olympics as an unwise pursuit for central Florida, but I'm even more deeply convinced the 2004 Summer Games will be a major mess in Athens and that poobahs will be wronger than wrong if they award 2008 competitions to Beijing, where the only obvious asset is person power. ... Michael Irvin, meet Darryl Strawberry. ... One more measure of Alex Rodriguez's mountain of money is that the Texas shortstop, for the 25 games the Rangers play in California this season, will pay $330,000 in state taxes. ... Surely, the grub in baseball locker rooms is expanding, with the major leagues having players named Suzuki, Tsuyoshi, Sasaki, Nomo, Yoshii and Irabu. ... I already miss John McKay. Amazing to think, with today's $2-million salary ranges of Spurrier, Bowden and Stoops, that Rich's dad was making $48,000 as Southern California football boss and athletic director in 1975, the year before he became original coach of the Bucs.

READER'S SHOUT: An e-mail from Denise Ferguson of Safety Harbor suggests, "It is irritating that the Times uses nearly any excuse to print another fatheaded, showoff, oddball photo of Warren Sapp. He is a good player, but the terribly selfish No. 99 is hardly the face of my Buccaneers. His nasty attitude with those of us in the public is clearly out of cadence with a majority of the team.

"If your newspaper wishes true representation of a Bucs roster that, among pro athletics, is clearly exceptional in demeanor and community service, may I suggest the more appropriate pictures would be of Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and the wonderful molder himself, Tony Dungy?"

Whatever happened to Renee Richards?

- To reach Hubert Mizell, e-mail or mail to P.O. Box 726, Nellysford, VA 22958.

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