Late-Inning Loss Shocks Chicago Cubs Fans
Oct. 15, 2003
CHICAGO (AP) _ Heather Swanson proudly waved a giant blue Cubs flag as her favorite team closed in on its first World Series since 1945. A few minutes later, she needed the flag pole for support.
``I'm so depressed. I'm going to cry,'' the 21-year-old fan said.
In a monumental eighth-inning meltdown Tuesday night, the Cubs allowed eight runs in an 8-3 loss that sent that the NL championship series to a deciding seventh game Wednesday night.
The Marlins took advantage of Chicago left fielder Moises Alou's run-in with a fan on a foul fly and an error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez in the big inning.
``If Alou had been able to catch that one ball ... I really thought they were going to do it,'' said Joanne Dexheimer, 47.
A 26-year-old man wearing a Cubs hat prevented Alou from catching Luis Castillo's ball. As the Marlins rallied, security guards escorted the fan out. He threw a jacket over his face for protection, but not before other fans hurled beers at him.
``You cost us the World Series!'' one fan yelled at him. Some chanted ``Kill him!''
Cubs security chief Mike Hill refused to give out any details about him other than his age. But Hill did say the team gave him a new coat and led him out a different exit after the game so no one could recognize him.
``He was scared to death more than anything,'' Hill said. ``He just wanted to get out of here.''
Chicago fire fighter Pat Looney was seated next to the fan and said there was no misconduct.
``It looked like it was out of play. Don't blame him,'' Looney said. ``I should've pushed him out of the way. If I saw Alou coming, I would have.
``He wasn't leaning over. He was behind the rail, he didn't know Alou was coming. It looks like I touched the ball, but I didn't. I got 50 hate calls already. The firehouse where I work is being bombarded.''
Cubs fans have turned their attention to Wednesday's game, talking about pitcher Kerry Wood in a subdued, but confident, way.
``I wish we didn't have to use him, but I think Wood can do it,'' Dexheimer said.
Most fans were surprised by how quickly the Cubs' fortunes turned sour.
``It happened so fast, people were shocked. They were hardly talking inside the stadium, they were just standing and staring at the field,'' said 37-year-old John Gransee.