Yes, I talk sports for a living (for some reason, people pay me to do that), but truth be told, I’m a history buff. So, when history and sports intersect, I feel like my world is complete.
The “cursed” Chicago Cubs knocked off the San Francisco Giants, in an even year no less (can you beliEVEN that?), Tuesday night. The best team in baseball found a way to overcome a three-run deficit in the 9th inning at AT&T park in a quest to end the dreaded “curse” that has plagued the team for decades.
But is there really a curse? It’s crazy to me that failures to compete in a major sport have been attributed to a poor man and his goat. Leave it to paid athletes and executives to find excuses for ineptitude.
I found a fascinating piece by the History Channel on the origins of the dreaded curse and the lengths the franchise and fans have gone to break said curse.
If you believe all this nonsense, it all started on October 6, 1945 when a local pub owner was allegedly kicked out of Game 4 of the World Series matchup between the Cubs and Detroit Tigers because he brought his smelly goat to take in a game at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs had a 2-1 lead in the series, lost that day 4-1 and went on to lose the series. They haven’t been back since, all because of an man and his billy goat.
Then in September of 1969, the Cubs, leading the division, were the victims of yet another bad stroke of luck. Get this…a black cat, yes a black cat appeared on the field and crossed in front of the Cubs dugout and it was all over. They went on to miss the playoffs.
Do you need more proof?? I think not!
That’s all the franchise and fans needed to further prove that the sports Gods, the entire universe and every stray pet in Chicago had conspired against them. So, they did the only rational thing possible: they searched endlessly for ways to take matters into their own hands, with a little help from a man on his deathbed, and set things right.
Here’s all the ways:
- Greek pub owner Billy Sianis “lifted” the curse on his deathbed in 1970.
- The Cubs invited Sianis’ nephew to parade goats across Wrigley Field multiple times.
- In 2008, the franchise took it a step further and asked a Greek Orthodox priest to bless the diamond with holy water.
- 2011 a “Reverse the Curse” charity was formed will the sole purse of winning back the Cubs karma by…get this…donating GOATS to families in places like Africa.
- 2012 five men raised money for cancer research by making some poor goat aptly named Wrigley march 2,000 miles from Arizona to Chicago.
Crazy that NONE of those things worked. But, one thing did. The Cubs finally realizing they were getting in their own way wasting time focusing on goats and curses and not getting someone with a resume, based in baseball versus voodoo, in there to make some actual baseball decisions.
Enter Theo Epstein, savor of the Boston Red Sox (who also knew a thing or two about how to suck before Epstein came in).
My dad always told me, “Excuses are like….”, we all know how that saying goes.
The Cubs have had an excuse for failure for 70-plus years. The only thing about their excuse is it makes a damn fine cheese.