The fall guys

Asked for his favorite baseball memory, Renteria has a somewhat unusual choice. "I was in camp with the expansion Marlins in '93, trying to get back into the majors after five years of bus rides, winter ball, a fractured skull. Toward the end of the spring, I'm doing the math, and three guys are going for the 24th and last spot on the roster. We had an exhibition in Nashville, I think, that got canceled, so now we have to fly back to Miami.

"So I get dressed in the clubhouse, quiet as a mouse, wondering if somebody is going to give me the bad news. But nobody says anything. I get on the bus to the airport. Nobody taps me on the shoulder. Now I'm on the airplane, which is sitting on the tarmac. Richie Lewis, one of our pitchers, whispers, 'You made it.' I tell him shush. It wasn't until we took off, and we were at 30,000 feet, that I would allow myself to think that I had made it.

"That was a pretty good feeling."

Maybe that's how it'll happen. All of a sudden, without foreboding billy goats or I-told-you-so experts or reminders of '84 and '03, a Cubs manager will hold the World Series trophy aloft.

"I work for the Giants," says Trebelhorn, "so that's where my loyalty lies. But I will be a very happy man when that day comes in Chicago. And I hope it comes soon."

This may not be the year. This could be the time, though.

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