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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 11:21 GMT
Unlucky Cubs 'execute' baseball
'Cursed' Chicago Cubs ball
The unfortunate ball was 'executed' live on television
A baseball deflected by a Chicago Cubs fan and believed to have cost his team the World Series has been destroyed.

The infamous ball was bought up by another fanatical supporter, who organised a public sacrifice in a bid to end the club's legendary "curse".

In a flash of explosive charge, the ball was transformed into a pile of twisted twine - with help from an Oscar-winning special effects expert.

The Cubs have failed to win the World Series since 1908.

They were within touching distance of making the Series last year, when an over-zealous fan knocked the ball from the hands of a Cubs fielder as he was about to catch it.

Their fortunes turned, they lost the contest, and angst-ridden supporters have blamed the ball (and the fan) for continuing the "jinx" behind the Cubs' dismal record.

Grant DePorter, a partner in a restaurant business, paid $113,824 ($61,570) for the ball in order to have it blown up on live TV.

'Billy goat' curse

"People say it's a symbol," he told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday.

"Whether it's cursed or not I don't know, but people say 'get rid of it', and we're going to."

Remains of the ball
The ball was blown up in its display case in front of Cubs fans
He brought in Hollywood mechanical effects expert Michal Lantieri who tested several methods before deciding on which "execution" to use.

The ball was blown up still inside its display case at Harry Caray's restaurant - named after the late Cubs broadcaster - and carried live by MSNBC cable television across the US.

"Originally we were going to have it completely incinerated," Mr DePorter told MSNBC. "But Cubs fans said you need to have some mush left over."

According to a Cubs legend, a fan with a pet billy goat who was turned away from the stadium in 1945 laid a curse on the team.

Mr DePorter has said the remains of the ball will be kept as a memento.

"We're going to keep the remnants on display... as if to say, 'if you're going to mess with the Cubs, this is what'll happen to you'," he said before the event.

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