What Happened: In short? This.
Up three games to two on the Florida Marlins in the 2003 National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs were also winning Game 6 by a score of 3-0—and were just five outs from their first World Series appearance since 1945.
Yes, the Lovable Losers, 95 years after their last title, were finally about to get another shot. Until everything fell apart in mere minutes.
In just about everyone's eyes, it all started when Steve Bartman, a fan sitting in foul territory along the left field line, interfered with left fielder Moises Alou's attempt to catch a foul fly ball on the edge of the stands (pictured) off the bat of Luis Castillo.
Mark Prior, one of the game's best pitchers that year, would eventually walk Castillo, and well, that's when the wheels fell off in a barrage of hits, errors and intentional walks. All told, the Cubs went from up 3-0 to down 8-3 and would go on to lose the game and the series, while the Marlins went all the way.
As for Bartman? He may as well be public enemy No. 1 on the North Side.
What Could Have Happened: It's sad—and perhaps more than a little crazy—to think that Bartman was to blame for yet another Cubs postseason disaster.
So while it's fun to envision a world where the ball falls through Bartman's outstretched hands and into Alou's glove, thus saving both Bartman and the Cubs' World Series hopes, it's also problematic.
First, there's the issue of whether Alou even would have made a catch that was not at all easy.
Then the Cubs would still have had to get one more out in the eighth inning with a runner on second base, as well as three outs in the ninth—all while clinging to a small lead.
And assuming the Cubs managed to win the NLCS in six, they would have gone on to face the New York Yankees in the World Series, and just because the Marlins took down the Yanks, it doesn't mean the Cubs would have done the same.
In fact, knowing the Cubbies' history, it's entirely possible that something even more curse-crazed and heart-breaking would have happened at a bigger moment, on the biggest stage in baseball.
Or, you know, maybe instead of staring at what currently stands at 105 straight championshipless seasons, the Cubs would have—at long last—won it all 10 years ago.
What other "What Ifs" do you ruminate on? Break 'em out in the comments.