The election is 14 days away. But, tonight history watchers will be viewing game one of the World Series. The Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians will face off this year.
The Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948. The Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908. But, the Cubs are the team with the moniker of “lovable losers”. Their run without a World Series is epic. Besides, they haven’t even been in the series since 1945, which is when the infamous “Billy Goat Curse” began.
The curse supposedly began with game 4 of the 1945 World Series in Chicago between the Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. There are variations of the curse and what actually happened, but it goes something like this.
There is a place called The Billy Goat Tavern. It is really famous. It even had a nice run on Saturday Night Live back when the show started. If you remember the skit when they kept saying “cheeseborger, cheeseborger, no fries, chips”. That is the Billy Goat Tavern.
Anyway, the Tavern was owned by a Greek Immigrant named Billy Sianis. He owned a billy goat and paraded it around town for advertisement for his tavern. He showed up at game four of the World Series with his goat wearing a banner reading “We got Detroit’s Goat”. Sianis had two tickets. One for him and one for his goat.
Here is where the story gets a little hazy. One version say that Sianis was not allowed to bring the goat into the stadium and that even Wrigley, the owner of the Cubs told him he couldn’t bring in the goat because it smelled bad. In this version, Sianis supposedly threw up his hands and said “them Cubs ain’t gonna win again”.
Another version say that Sianis was allowed to bring the goat into the stadium. But, after a short rain delay, other customers began to complain about the stink coming off the wet goat. It is then that Sianis was asked to leave with his goat. In this version it was reported that he sent a letter saying: “You are going to lose this World Series…You are never going to win the World Series again because you insulted my goat.”
I am old, but I wasn’t around even then so I don’t know which version is correct. All I know is that the Cubs have been a lousy team ever since. Yes, they flirted a few times with getting into the World Series, but came up short.
There was the infamous collapse of the 1969 Cubs. There was a real buzz going around town that year, until the collapse. Then a malaise seemed to overcome the city especially on the North Side. There was the collapse in San Diego when the Cubs had a 2-0 lead going into San Diego and lost all three games there. And then, there is the Bartman game. When a fan supposedly interfered with a foul ball and the Cubs went on to lose that game and then the next to be eliminated.
This series will have one of two effects. Either the “curse” will continue or it will be ended. That is of course if you believe the “curse” includes the World Series or just the National League Pennant which has already been broken.
The real question is what will happen to the Cubs if they actually win the World Series this year. They will certainly lose the moniker the “loveable losers.” The funny thing about that part is that didn’t come about until the 1980s when they finally became a potential winner.
Growing up in Chicago, I remember an empty Wrigley Field when the Cubs played their games. The only year they drew huge crowds was in 1969. By 1971, it was over and the crowds stayed away.
Suddenly there was a marketing scheme calling them the “loveable losers” playing in Historic Wrigley Field. To be honest, Wrigley Field was a dump in those days.
Now, I will be fair here. I am from the South Side of Chicago. I have lived all over the country, but I never gave up my loyalties to Chicago teams. I am a die-hard White Sox fan. We have had our own heart breaks over the years, too. If you are not from Chicago, you really don’t understand the difference and the feelings between the two sides of the city.
The rivalry is real. The jokes are the same, only the name of the team is changed. If you come from Chicago and are honest, you are either a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan. Anyone who says they support both teams are immigrants, not real Chicagoans.
As the Series begins tonight, I will be watching. It is hard for me to say this, but I will be hoping the Cubs come out victorious. Not because I love the Cubs, but I want their “loveable losers” nonsense to stop being used every year.
If nothing else, a World Series win will actually shut the North Side up for a while. Oh, they will be raving about their winning, finally, but what will they say if they don’t win again next year? On the other side, if they lose, we will have to put up with that stupid “Billy Goat Curse” at least one more year.
Like everyone else in the world I believe my town has the greatest fans around. The city deserves another championship. Hopefully, the Cubs will hold up their end of the bargain. After all, they have let us down for 108 years. Talk about torturing for your fans.
In either case, one of the two teams with the longest drought of championships will end this year. If the Indians win, the North Side of Chicago will probably be drunk for another year of crying in their beers.
This is hard for me to say, but Go Cubbies!