On a 3-0 count with the bases empty Sunday night, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster tagged Alex Rodriguez in the back. In that same at-bat, Dempster threw a ball behind him. His message -- whatever it may have been -- was sent. Not long after, with New York trailing 6-3, A-Rod made his own statement, blasting a near 450-foot home run to dead center field, as if to say, "How do you like these apples?"
This team has been so good all year, and the rest of the National League so average, it seemed predestined that in the 100th anniversary of the Cubs' last World Series title, they would win again and exorcise the old demons that have haunted this club and its fans for so long. This was a new team, you were told, a new beginning. So why does it feel the same?