Legend arising from the Hanshin Tigers' victory in the 1985 Japan Series. After the championship had been secured, a large group of revelers gathered at Namba Bridge over the Dotonburi in Osaka. Good Tigers fans one and all, they began chanting the name of each Tigers player on the roster. As each name was chanted, a fan thought to resemble that player would jump into the river below.

This was all well and good until they reached the name of Randy Bass. Bass was a bearded American, instrumental to the Tigers' triumph -- not only was he the Series MVP, he had also won the Triple Crown during the regular season, and nearly broken the Japan League record for home runs. Upon reaching Bass's name, the fans were stumped. None of the Japanese in the crowd resembled the slugger, and, strangely, there were no gaijin around who might be conveniently seized and thrown into the water (or, more likely, coaxed with alcohol to jump in of their own accord).

Unfortunately, one particularly creative fan seized not a gaijin, but upon an idea: didn't the decorative statue outside a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken resemble Bass? Unfortunate because the crowd agreed; unfortunate because they grabbed the statue, lifted it upon their shoulders, and chucked it into the river; unfortunate because the Colonel was never seen again.

It is said that until the Colonel is recovered and returned to his pedestal, Hanshin will never win another championship. Those who are skeptics would do well to examine Hanshin's performance in seasons since 1985.

In view of mauler's very optimistic write-up, below, an update:

Like their American curse counterparts -- the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox -- the Tigers came close-but-not-quite to winning that elusive title -- losing the Japan Series to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.

The Curse lives on.

After eighteen long years of abject futility, the Curse of Colonel Sanders appears to have been broken. This year (2003), the Hanshin Tigers at long last returned to glory by winning the Central League title and the Dotonbori River once again was awash with joyous and insane Tigers fans (insane because the Dotonbori is a filthy concrete-lined canal filled with trash, mud, and discarded bicyles, and high in heavy metals and e coli from industrial dumping).

For years Tigers fans everywhere had rued the fateful day that the Colonel's effigy had been unceremoniously dumped in the Dotonbori, never to be seen again. Clearly, the Colonel's spirit was incensed by this show of disrespect, and used the mighty powers he once wielded to create his potent "Original Recipe" chicken to reach beyond the grave and ensure that the Tigers would never again win anything from anybody. Over the years several expeditions were mounted to dredge the river for the Colonel's statue, but it was never found. Meanwhile, Tigers fans began making offerings at the Colonel's statue at the KFC branch in Koshien Stadium, now securely chained in place to prevent future mishaps.

Perhaps after eighteen years, the Colonel's cruel heart has finally been softened by the countless offerings and fervent prayers of the Tigers faithful. Or perhaps he has been appeased by the growing success of his fast food empire in Japan. Or maybe the Colonel has been only temporarily distracted from his interminable grudge by the recent arrival of Wendy's founder and archenemy Dave Thomas in his dark domain. Will the Tigers' victory this year mark a return to the glory days of old and a new dynasty of Tigers greatness, or will the insideous spirit of Sanders renew his vile machinations to return the Tigers to the celler of the Central League?

Only time will tell.

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