Some folks have trouble predicting the future.
Not me. Predicting is easy for me. Getting it right I find tough.
But there are moments. A week ago Tuesday, in this very newspaper, I predicted that the St. Louis Cardinals would win their National League playoff. They did. I predicted five games. It took six. I also predicted that the Kansas City Royals would win their American League playoff. They did. I predicted seven games. And, indeed, it went seven.
Because of that, I have been swamped with questions about who’s going to win the World Series. Well, maybe not swamped. There one guy asked. Actually, he was talking to someone else at the time.
But indifference never stopped me before. In fact, I will now not only predict who will win the World Series, I will tell you exactly how it will play itself out, one game at a time.
“How do you do it?” I hear you ask. It’s easy. You put your fingers over the typewriter, you close your eyes, and . . . Meanwhile, in Canada . . .
GAME 1: A miraculous game. Kansas City wins it on a ninth- inning home run. Unfortunately, not a single reporter is there to tell the world what happened. They are all stuck in Toronto, trying to convince the customs officials that no, they did not purchase any wild plants while in Canada.
GAME 2: The reporters have shown up, and just in time. St. Louis pitcher Joaquin Andujar has decided to speak to the media before the game. Here is what he says: “You guys are —–, —-, —, especially that —– over there. And also, —–! and —–! I am Joaquin! You —!”
Andujar then takes the mound and gets shellacked, 17-2.
GAME 3: The series shifts to St. Louis, and the Cardinals respond with eight runs in the first inning. Willie McGee and Vince Coleman steal every base in the park, including those in the storage room. Because there are no bases left, play is delayed. Finally, three small fans volunteer to lie in the dirt and pretend they are bases. The game goes on, but the Cardinals steal no more, since they would have to answer to the families. This enables the Royals to slowly catch up. In the ninth inning, score tied at 8-8, Coleman hits a dramatic home run, winning it for the Cards.
The crowd goes wild. But as Coleman circles the bases, he disappears. No one can find him. A statewide manhunt is organized. Few people notice the lump in the infield tarp.
GAME 4: Without Coleman, the Cardinals are forced to play Andujar in left field. “He can do it,” says manager Whitey Herzog, “besides it gets him out of the dugout.”
Andujar responds, making a game-saving catch on a Jim Sundberg line drive. St. Louis wins, 5-4. But their celebration is dampened when Ozzie Smith does a backflip and suddenly disappears. Few people notice the second lump under the infield tarp. Oh, say, can you see?
GAME 5: George Brett, having been intentionally walked 17 straight times, sends up Peter Ueberroth to bat for him. “He already looks like me,” says Brett. “Besides, any fool can take four straight pitches. Even Peter.” Unfortunately, Ueberroth runs after the pitchout, swings and misses three straight times. Afterward, he refuses a urine test.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, are forced to start 62 year-old coach Red Schoendienst at shortstop. “We feel Red has the experience to get the job done,” says Herzog. On his first play, Schoendienst calls time-out to get his glasses. Kansas City, taking a hint, decides to hit every ball his way. The game is called after seven hours and the score Royals 112, Cardinals 0. Later, Schoendienst disappears. Another lump is spotted in the tarp.
GAME 6: The series returns to Kansas City, where the Royals hope to wrap it up. Buddy Biancalana, the KC shortstop, surprises everyone with a grand slam. His fan club doubles in size, to six members. But the Cardinals strike back, scoring a dozen runs in the eighth. “We’ll get ’em tomorrow,” says KC manager Dick Howser, who quickly leaves to shoot a “Lucky Charms” commercial, in which he plays the leprechaun.
GAME 7: The game is switched to St. Louis at the last minute because Royals Stadium is booked for a junior rodeo championship. The tension is thick. The crowd is wild. The game goes scoreless until the ninth, when Kansas City’s Steve Balboni gets his first hit in two weeks, a monstrous home run that clinches the Series, 1-0. Balboni celebrates by eating two bags of potato chips simultaneously. “I knew he could do it,” says Dan Quisenberry. “How about that? Two bags!” The mystery of the disappearing players is solved when the killer tarp tries to swallow Andujar, then spits him back. “Even a tarp has taste,” it says.