Random Thoughts from the Tribune sports Desks

Today’s column is a tale of sorrow and betrayal. A word of caution; be careful who you accept gifts from, especially if they come with a curse.
Yesterday a friend returned from a two-week holiday in the states. While he was away I looked in on his place and walked his dog. A friendly service all residents here know about and something we all are willing to do to help out; it’s part of the deal with living in Paradise.
While he was gone he texted me to ask my hat size, saying he was going to buy me a Cubs hat as a thank you, I told him to forget it, I would not wear it. Ever. Period.
His plane landed early and we made plans to meet to watch game three of Cardinals vs Cubs later in the day.
The game started out well enough with me watching the first four innings of the game from my office. The Cub’s superman, Jake Arrieta was on the mound, but he didn’t look invincible, we (the Cardinal batters) were getting to him, making him work deep into counts. After the Cubs went up 1-0 in the second, the Cards answered back with two to take the lead.
So, with the lead in-hand I jumped in my truck and drove from the office to Los Muertos to meet up. My amazing girlfriend kept me updated on the game as I drove and even though the Cubs answered with a homer in the bottom of the fourth to tie, I was feeling pretty good about our chances.
I joined my friend at the bar and he handed over a few thank you presents for keeping an eye on his place. A cool t-shirt from a hole in the wall pizza restaurant from his hometown and an Iowa delicacy, a jar of spicy local mustard. I thanked him but noticed something behind his back still. What’s that I asked? Oh, I got you a hat, he said with a smirk and handed me a beautiful alternate St. Louis hat, fitted just like the pros wear, you know the one with the iconic 2 birds on a bat logo. So gorgeous it took my breath away. Thanks! I pulled it down on my head and worked in the bill a little bit, a perfect fit.
Then it happened! As soon as that hat was on my head, Schwarber walked. No big deal I thought, Wacha had just struck out the first batter. Then bang. Baez single. 1st and 3rd, we still are ok, Castro hits a fly ball to Piscotty at first, two out, crisis nearly over I thought, then comes Rizzo. 430 foot three run homer, followed by Bryant 384 foot solo homerun. What’s up with this hat I thought, as I took it off and eyed it eerily.
Top of the sixth we get two back. OK it’s not the hat and I put it back on, then bottom of the sixth two more runs for the Cubs both on homers. Ok it is the damn hat, so I take it off. Next inning and a half are uneven, both teams threaten but no runs. I breath a sigh of relief, we are still in this, I put the hat back on and bang, Fowler with a 381 foot homerun. I yank the hat back off. The Cardinals homer to make it 8-6 and get it close, but it’s not enough. So let’s recap, my friend, a Cubs fan brings me a hat, I wear the hat, and on the day I wear this hat the Cubs set a team record for home runs in a playoff game, oh, and of course I am watching at Los Muertos, a place whose curse runs deep with me and that I have mentioned in previous columns.
I know it’s not science but as I write this column a bit despondent and eating spicy Iowa mustard with a spoon, I wonder if there is a local brujo or a temazcal ceremony I can attend that will lift curses from 7 ½ inch New Era baseball cap.
I sure hope so, because the old warhorse John Lackey tries to keep the Cardinal season alive on three days rest in just a few hours.