The Chicago Cubs last won a World Series in 1908 when they beat the Detroit Tigers in five games. Cubs fans blame this drought on any number of reasons: a bleeding billy goat, a Gatorade-soaked glove, Steve Bartman, bad luck and lousy management. Cursed for what feels like forever, the Chicago Cubs are long overdue for a World Series victory.
For most Cubs fans, the curse officially began in 1945 when the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern brought an actual billy goat to game four of the World Series. Late in the game, William Sianis and his goat were asked to leave because the goat stank. As he and his goat left the park, he was heard saying that the Cubs were not going to win again until the goat was allowed back in. The Chicago Cubs lost that series in seven games against the Tigers.
The 1969 season saw a continuation of the Cubs’ curse. This time it was a black cat running circles around Ron Santo, who was waiting in the on-deck circle in a crucial game against the New York Mets. Their season fell apart.
At the end of the 1984 regular season, the Cubs had a 94-64 record. Their roster held MVP, Ryne Sandberg and Rick Sutcliffe, the year’s Cy Young Winner – fans and the team thought this was the year the curse could be broken. After a quick two game lead over the San Diego Padres, they quickly lost two, allowing the Padres to tie the series 2-2. During the seventh inning of game five, an easy ball rolled between Leon Durham’s legs – the Padres eventually won the game.
Bill Buckner played for Chicago before playing for the Boston Red Sox. During his fateful 1986 World Series game seven against the Mets, Buckner was wearing an old batting glove with the Cubs logo on it. The Chicago Cubs’ curse had come to Boston furthering the superstition that the franchise was doomed forever.
The latest rearing of the curse came in 2003 in a game against the Florida Marlins. Moises Alou the Cubs left fielder tried to catch as ball as a fan deflected it. Steve Bartman interfered with the Cubs player when he attempted to catch a foul ball along the left field wall. The Chicago Cubs were only one game away from the World Series. Since that fateful game, fans take pictures of the seat Bartman had and even pose for pictures like Bartman.
Going into week 18 of this season the Cubs are 40-54 and ranked 26th in the league. They have not had a winning record this year. They rank fifth in the National League Central at 13 games behind Washington and Atlanta, who are both tied for first in the division. This puts Chicago 12.5 games out for the Wild Card race, which is only half a game ahead of Colorado.
If statistics tell the truth of where a team is heading, then this will not be the year for the Chicago Cubs to break their curse which will make forever at least one more year away. According to ESPN, they are one year away from being a real contender in the NL Central, but this year remains important, as management will assess how certain players bounce back from last year.
Commentary by Sara Kourtsounis