CHICAGO - The bartender at Harry Caray's nods toward the beer sitting unattended nearby, its owner having gone off to the men's room.

"He's from Philadelphia?" She says with no little disdain. "He's a Flyers fan?"

Yes and yes.

"I knew I didn't like him."

It is not very convincing. Considering the passionate nature of these two first-class sports towns, there is almost zero sense of rivalry or dislike between Chicago and Philadelphia.

One reason, you suspect, sits a few feet from that unattended beer. A glass case in the entryway serves as the tomb for the remains of the baseball Steve Bartman caught.

You know the deal. NLCS at Wrigley, Cubs about to clinch the pennant. Foul ball down the third-base side. A fan - Bartman, with his comically large headphones on, interferes with leftfielder Moises Alou. All heck breaks loose.

The point is, Chicago has had more bad luck, and for longer, than we have. And they take things like curses seriously enough to act on them. The Bartman ball was exploded to remove its power over the Cubs.

Years before, rituals were performed to remove the Curse of the Billy Goat. And there remains the belief that no MLB team can win the World Series with too many ex-Cubs on its roster.

In Philly, of course, we had the Curse of Billy Penn - broken by the Phillies after a statue of the founder was placed at the top of the Comcast Tower.

Which brings us to Marian Hossa.

Two years ago, the forward played for Pittsburgh in the Cup Finals. The Pens lost to Detroit. So Hossa jumped to the Red Wings as a free agent. He made it back to the Finals - losing to Pittsburgh last year.

So Hossa moved on again.

To Chicago.

There are those who believe in a Hossa curse, that the hockey gods don't approve of his mercenary ways in pursuit of the Cup.

We'll see. But it's unlikely anyone's going to blow him up and put him in a case at Harry Caray's.