Well, it’s October, and for baseball fans, it’s playoff time. For the next month, the best 8 eight teams go head-to-head to determine which team wins the World Series. As I write, two teams stand on the brink of elimination and two have already packed in their season. One of those eliminated teams, the Milwaukee Brewers, was a bit of a surprise to make the playoffs. Though blessed with a young, powerful offense, the pitching was something of a question mark before the season started…but it all came together.
The other team packing up early, the Chicago Cubs, was also a surprise, but for entirely different reasons. The ownership had invested large sums of money in their pitching staff, their offense was at least as good as Milwaukee’s (go Mark DeRosa!!), and they had a terrific 2008 season. But the Cubs had the misfortune of running into some outstanding Dodger pitching. Or was that really their misfortune?
There is, of course, the Curse of the Goat. If you don’t know the story, you’re not alone. I’m not sure anyone knows the precise details of what happened anymore, but I’ll do my best. Back in 1945, World War II had just ended and the Cubs were in the World Series, playing the Detroit Tigers. On October 6, 1945, Billy Sianis (a tavern owner) was allowed to parade his goat around the field before Game 4 of the Series with a sign declaring that the Cubs “had Detroit’s goat”…the Cubs were leading the Series 2 games to 1.
Sianis then took his goat into the stands, where it sat until the 7th inning, and yes, the goat had a ticket. But he also had an aroma that greatly displeased the non-goats sitting nearby. So Billy was forced to leave the stadium and, as he left, he cursed the Cubs, who proceeded to lose 3 of final 4 games and the World Series. Furthermore, the Cubs haven’t been to the Series since 1945 and, while they had some good years (1984, 2003, and 2008), they’ve usually been pretty awful.
Of course, there are variations of the Curse story. Some say the goat was forced to leave the stadium, but the one I always heard was that the goat was denied entrance. The wording of Sianis’ Curse comes in several different flavors as well, ranging from “The Cubs won’t ever win the Series again.” to “The Cubs won’t ever appear in a World Series again”.
Regardless, each year that the Cubs are denied entrance to baseball’s biggest spectacle, the Curse gets stronger. The Boston Red Sox overcame their Curse…the Cubs are next. Somewhere, a stinky old goat bleats his approval.