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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Why our country is great #336

How could there be any lede (let alone ensuing grafs) more evocative of the essence of America? (Interesting that while lede and graf are utterly common spellings among journalists, I couldn't find these entries in any online dictionary. The variant spellings supposedly date from the time when journalists had to provide typesetting instructions within the text and wanted to avoid confusion between text and metatext.) Anyway, the lede would make a fabulous first line for a poem.

Bartman ball gets explosive send-off

February 26, 2004


The baseball blamed by many Chicago Cubs fans for the team's playoff disaster last year was reduced to a pile of thread on live television Thursday evening by a Hollywood special effects expert.

Fans sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" before the ball was destroyed in a flash of light inside a bulletproof tank in a stunt designed by Oscar winner Michael Lantieri, who worked on "Jurassic Park" and "Back to the Future."

"We're using a combination of pressure, heat and explosives in this bulletproof tank to destroy that ball so it will not resemble a ball at all when we're finished," Lantieri said earlier Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, which was broadcasting live from Chicago.

Hundreds of people gathered downtown Thursday night around Harry Caray's Restaurant for the event where the ball was destroyed in a tent outside the restaurant. Some fans were decked out in Cubs gear, others wore replicas of the famous broadcaster's signature glasses and one man was covered in ivy.

Whether the ball was possessed by the curse that legend says afflicts the Cubs or not, fans were happy to see it go. To some, the destruction is a sign of the good things to come this season.

more . . . .

Bartman Ball

The obliterated remains of a baseball sits in pieces inside a clear case after being blown up Thursday. The baseball was deflected by a fan during the Chicago Cubs' loss in Game 6 of the 2003 National League championship series against the Florida Marlins and blown up to help Cubs fans forget about the incident. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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