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Tales of regional rivalries or, Who mailed my cheese? ...


I got a press clipping the other day mailed from a reader in Metro New York and it was a photo copy of a New York Post article from Jan. 19, 2008, talking about how New York had upended the favored Wisconsin in the 2007 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.

The article was timed for the day before the NFC Championship Game between the Packers and the Giants and was obviously part of the carpet-bombing coverage strategy that overcomes editors of all stripes at such moments.

Scrawled across the top was a notation about “Something to share with your Wisconsin friends,” which I took to be a fun poke at our legendary cheezenfreude. Doesn’t work for me personally, since I have nearly as much emotional attachment to Chateaugay, N.Y., as I do to Madison, Wis., the home of the cheese that had been expected to take the top prize. That tiny little Upstate New York village is just on the fringe of the circulation area that included my Saranac Lake, N.Y., bureau 30 years ago, near Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

I also found it fascinating that the tattered photo copy was reaching me nearly two years after its publication. I am not sure what prompted the mailing at this particular moment, since our Green & Gold don’t play the Giants this year in the regular season.

The next day, the Sunday New York Times ran a full-page feature chronicling all 27 of the Yankees World Series titles, and then on the facing page ran a small story about Chicago’s legendary inability to nail down a World Series crown in more than 100 years. That, I presume, had to sting a little, from the juxtaposition and timing, if nothing else.

And then they had to push it a little by implying that the Cubs could conceivably lift the infamous curse by inviting Steve Bartman throw out a first pitch or maybe coach first base. Ouch!

From what I recall of that debacle – and our own National Convention’s quasi-serious invitation to Bartman to show up at the Chicago National two years ago – that winds up being a kind of cruel taunting of both the Cubbies and Mr. Bartman.

Call me old fashioned, but I think we New Yorkers could have graciously celebrated yet another World Series triumph without feeling compelled to remind the beleaguered fans in Chicago that this is a particular bit of joy that the baseball gods have apparently conspired to deny them.

Geez, and me a Mets fan, feeling sorry for frustrated Cubbie lovers. Whoda thunk it?

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