Do You Believe In Curses?
An honest question to all Cubs fans out there:
Do you really believe in curses?
This is something we’ve all faced as Cubs fans and its something I’ve had a personal battle with for a very long time. I’m writing this article for Cubbies Crib readers and Cubs fans alike because I want to finally put this curiosity of mine to rest. Im sick of hearing “Billy Goat” this and “Steve Barman” that. Damn it! I want answers!
Are our beloved boys in blue really cursed or just have had 103 straight years of poor play?
Lets take a look back at 1908 (the last time the Cubs won a world series). There were only 8000 cars in existence, 144 miles of paved roads, 14% of homes had a bathtub, 8% of homes had a telephone, iced tea hadn’t been invented yet and the American flag had only 45 stars!
Ugh… man that’s a seriously long time ago.
What could be responsible for the Cubs recent (and ongoing) woes on the baseball field? If you think about it mathematically, odds are the Cubs have to win eventually. But 103 years… its starting to add up and become suspicious. There have been entire generations who have never seen the Cubs win the World Series. Could it be the Cubs are really cursesd?
Baseball itself has evolved quite a lot in the past 103 years. The players are more skilled, the technology behind the game is better (equipment, grounds keeping) and strategy has evolved along with it. This is not abnormal, as all sports must evolve and adapt to the times. Treat the game of baseball like a living breathing entity: without support, it dies. Without evolution, it dies. Without a “raison d’etre” it dies.
Looking at that logic, the Cubs would have had plenty of opportunities to win the commissioners trophy in one of many baseball’s evolutionary forms, right?
Well… yeah. So why no world series?
Take it back to 1945: the Cubs are facing off against the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley. Billy Sianis, owner of the billy goat tavern in Wrigleyville, was asked to leave a game because the foul odor of his pet goat (whom he bought a seat for. now THAT’S true love) was offending some other fans in his proximity. Sianis was plainly asked to leave the game and take his goat along with him. This obviously outraged Sianis and he declared:
“Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more”
I’m sure everyone would have laughed and laughed and continued watching the game without ever thinking twice about what Sianis had said.
That is until the Cubs ended up losing the 1945 world series after having a comfortable 2 games to 1 lead on the Tigers and went on to lose games four, five, six and seven.
Hmm… that’s a little strange.
As if it couldn’t get any worse for the Cubs, newspapers picked up the “curse” story. Suddenly, Sianis’ quote was all over the headlines and had immortalized the curse forever. Not to mention a resurgence in popularity when FOX had brought the curse back to light during the 2003 post season series against the Florida Marlins.
Yes, the Cubs lost that series too and the Marlins ended up winning the commissioners trophy that year.
Steve Bartman went to one of those games… game 6 I think. You know Steve right?
If you don’t know who Steve Bartman is, google it right now. He’s the poor guy who got absolutely wrung out for deflecting a foul ball away from the Cubs’ left fielder Moises Alou while trying to make a play near the wall. The Cubs were up 3 games to 2 and 3-0 in the 8th inning and had a chance to close out the final 4 outs (there was one already away at the time of the play) to win the national league pennant.
Alou didn’t help the situation by slamming his glove down on the ground and yelling at fans. This may have helped sell the whole “Steve Bartman” thing to the media.
It was deemed that Bartman deflecting the ball away from Alou was the “turning point” in the series after the Cubs gave up 8 runs that inning and lost game 7 in Florida.
Poor Steve was escorted out of Wrigley and had to be put under police protection after his address was leaked on the internet. Bartman has always been a Cub fan and he said publicly many times that he never intended on hurting the team. Steve was just an excited fan reaching out for a foul ball. We all love to try and catch foul balls at the ball game.
Ever been on youtube and searched “guy drops his child for foul ball”? If not, I really suggest you do. Not only is it absolutely hilarious, but you’d be shocked how many different instances there is of an event like this. Fathers will really toss (quite literally toss) their kids to the side JUST to catch a foul ball!
How can you really put the blame on Steve for wanting a damned foul ball….
No one seems to remember Alex Gonzalez, the Cubs’ shortstop, who misfielded the ball on the very next play.
But I sure do.
He bobbled a hard grounder in his hands and was unable to make a play mere minutes after Bartman had deflected the ball away from Alou. Had Gonzalez fielded the ball, the Cubs could have ended the inning with a double play and would have still been ahead by two runs going in to the 9th. Instead all runners were safe and the bases were loaded.
Funny… I dont see any “curse of the failed double play – Thanks Mr. Gonzalez” curses. The way Bartman was chewed out, there probably should be.
Considering how quick the media is to start throwing the curses around, it starts to lose credibility. You cant help but feel that all this nonsense is just about trying to find a scoop worthy of grabbing people’s attention. Yes… the Cubs haven’t won and yes, there are over 40 former Cubs’ players who’ve gone on to win World Series Titles elsewhere but at the end of the day its all just another stat. Nothing more.
Championships are won by teams who work hard, have solid routines, listen to their coaches and invest in a system that works for that particular group of players. A team controls its own destiny and the new Cubs brass understands this. Have you ever heard Hoyer or Epstein say the word “curse” once?
Winning is not an accident, its the by-product of a collective effort and a little bit of luck.
Curses are meant for voodoo magicians and folklore… its just hype. Nothing more.
It’s not for baseball and certainly not for the Chicago Cubs.