FOUR WHAT-IFS THAT NEED TO BE PUT TO REST
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE Steve Bartman watches Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS at home, instead of sitting in Section 4, Row 8, Seat 113. NEW ENDING There's no guarantee Cubs LF Moises Alou catches Marlins batter Luis Castillo's foul ball, even without fan interference; in fact, Alou guessed he wouldn't have (before recanting). Let's pretend he does. The Marlins' bats still come alive and SS Alex Gonzalez's fielding error makes him the real goat.
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE Diego Maradona's infamous handball goal (left) is disallowed in the '86 World Cup QF. NEW ENDING Four minutes later the Argentine legend still scores the Goal of the Century, dribbling past five English defenders. In real life, Gary Lineker scored in the 80th minute, but with only a one-goal lead La Albiceleste park the bus and hold on 1--0. A week later they hoist the Jules Rimet Trophy.
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE The Seahawks hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch on second-and-goal at the Patriots' one, down four in the waning moments of SB XLIX. NEW ENDING Remember, Lynch had been stopped on third-and-one from the Pats' eight early in the third quarter; in fact, he was only 1 for 5 in goal line attempts in '14. (Seattle was 29th in goal-to-go scoring.) New England, braced for a run, stuffs Lynch twice. Same result.
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE Michael Jordan sticks to basketball, and only basketball. NEW ENDING Do the Bulls rip off a Celtics-like eight straight championships? Dream on. In Chicago's first three title seasons, plus the two sans-MJ, they were 3--7 against the Rockets. In our fantasy '93--94 and '94--95 Finals, a top-of-his-game Hakeem Olajuwon shreds Luc Longley. Rockets keep the crown.