SERIES PREDICTION: WATCH FOR RICKY MARTIN, BATTERIES

YOU WANT to know what’s going to happen in the World Series?

I know what’s going to happen …

GAME 1: The Series opens in Atlanta before an enthusiastic crowd of 954 fans.
“I guess Georgia’s playing Clemson again,” sighs Bobby Cox. The national anthem is sung by teen idol Ricky Martin, who wows the crowd, then leaves with Jane Fonda.

The Yankees go with their ace, “El Duque” Hernandez, explaining, through an interpreter, that in Cuba, “El Duque” means “lost my birth certificate.” The Braves, meanwhile, are so loaded with pitchers, they flip a coin to see who starts. Greg Maddux wins, then throws a no-hitter.

Braves win, 4-0.

“What if you had lost the toss?” Maddux is asked.

“I would have gone to see Georgia-Clemson,” he says.

Meanwhile, Braves owner Ted Turner, sensing disappointment by the networks for losing the “Subway Series,” says he will construct a subway between Atlanta and New York. “I’ll have it finished by Game 7,” he says, “unless Georgia-Clemson goes to overtime . . .”

GAME 2: A beautiful night in Atlanta brings 1,062 fans to the ballpark. “Must be a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” sighs Bobby Cox. The Yankees start David Cone, while the Braves again flip a coin. John Smoltz is chosen. He throws a one-hitter.

Braves win, 6-0.

“What if you had lost the toss?” Smoltz is asked.

“I would have stuck around anyhow,” he answers. “I’m not much into auto racing.”

Joe Morgan, the NBC analyst, points out that the “rotation” on Smoltz’s
“three-fingered curve” is coming from “the upper-arm extension” that favors
“right-handed sinking ball pitchers” in ballparks where “wind currents” affect
“the bat tensile exponent” and can lead to “overextension of the wrist twist.”

Bob Costas agrees.

Meanwhile, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, frustrated by the lack of offense, fires Joe Torre, his manager. When someone points out that the last time the Braves played the Yankees in the World Series, New York lost the first two, then won the next four — with Torre as manager — Steinbrenner says, “Yeah? What has he done for me lately?”

Despite pregame worries, there is only one controversial call involving the umpires. Chipper Jones hits a ball out of the stadium, but an umpire rules it a strikeout.

“Hey, we’re only human,” the umps say.

Turner’s new subway digs up earth from Atlanta to Virginia.

GAME 3: The Series shifts to New York, where, during introductions, Yankees fans, eager to show the world they are a cut above Mets fans, pelt the Braves with D-cell batteries. “Mets fans are so cheap they only throw AA’s!” a fan boasts.

After the national anthem — sung by Billy Joel, a native New Yorker, who finishes by flipping the Braves the finger and grabbing his crotch — the Yankees’ bats come alive, with Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Chuck Knoblauch and Darryl Strawberry all hitting home runs. Still, the game is tied, 7-7, in the bottom of the ninth. The Braves send aggressive closer John Rocker to the mound. He runs out in a boxing robe and gloves, throwing air punches.
“ARRRGH!” he yells. “ARRRRRGH! YEAH! YEAH! BRING IT ON, DUDE–“

Yankees fans take out their guns.

New York wins, by forfeit.

GAME 4: Yankees cruise to a 6-0 victory as Atlanta players find it hard to maneuver wearing bulletproof vests.

Turner’s new subway digs up the state of Delaware.

GAME 5: The Braves players decide they have to “go for it.” “We can’t be intimidated by New Yorkers,” says Andruw Jones, as the fans douse him in pigs’ blood.

Meanwhile, the much-anticipated duel between Tom Glavine and Roger Clemens fails to materialize when Clemens, insisting he’s a great postseason pitcher, begs out due to a hangnail. Andy Pettitte gets the start and throws eight strong innings. Joe Morgan says Pettitte’s curveball “rotates left to right” because of “the recoiling factor” on “chilly, humid nights” with “low wind density.”

Bob Costas agrees.

In the bottom of the ninth, Scott Brosius hits a towering home run over the centerfield wall. Unfortunately, an umpire calls it foul.

“But the foul pole is 200 feet away,” Brosius says.

“YOU CAN’T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!” the ump yells. “YOU’RE OUTTA HERE!”

The Yankees ultimately win, 5-4, after the umpire is buried in D-cell batteries.

GAME 6: The Braves return home and win, 2-1, before an appreciative crowd of 633 fans.

“Shania Twain concert,” sighs Bobby Cox.

Turner’s subway digs up New Jersey.

GAME 7: “The stage is set for a classic,” says Bob Costas.

“And the wind sheer factor will be below normal!” adds Morgan.

The game — played before a whopping 4,108 fans, which Bobby Cox attributes to
“pumpkin harvest” — begins as a pitching duel between Maddux and “El Duque,” which in Cuba means, “Take That, Fidel.”

There are no hits for either team until the sixth inning. Chipper (Don’t Call Me Larry) Jones breaks the stalemate with a home run to left. It lands near a visiting New York fan who chews the ball, spits it out, vomits on himself, then raises the “No. 1” finger.

“Sit down, Rudy,” Mrs. Giuliani says to him.

The Yankees tie the game in the eighth, and it goes extra innings. The 10th. The 11th. The 15th.

Finally, at 4:03 a.m., when no kids OR adults are still awake, Ryan Klesko hits a double that scores the winning run. The Braves take the series, four games to three.

“Finally!” Cox says. “I want to thank the fans of Atlanta — both of them — and also our owner, Ted, for always believing in us.”

Unfortunately, Turner is not present. He was riding his new subway, which broke down in North Carolina.

MITCH ALBOM can be reached at 313-223-4581 or

albom@freepress.com. Listen to Mitch’s radio show, “Albom in the Afternoon,” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).

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