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Commentary by Albert Corvera

The infamous Cubbie curse is upon us yet again! Best record in the National League, and yet another three game flop in the National League Divisional Series (NLDS).

If you didn’t find a scary costume to wear for Halloween this year, I suggest that you go next year as a Cubs curse: the “Billy Goat,” “Black Cat” or the “Bartman.”

Put on a goat mask. Wear all black and put on cat ears, and you’ll make a “Black Cat” to spec. Or, don a Cubs cap, elbow on a blue sweater, and top yourself with a pair of headphones to look like the infamous Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan who was blamed for knocking away a foul ball in the 2003 NLDS.

But one thing you have to ask yourself, either as a Cubs fan, or a baseball aficionado: are the Cubs really cursed? Has the 100-plus year drought of a World Series win gotten to us so that we now truly believe, after years of doubt, the Cubs curse really exists?

Lifelong Cubs fan and Northeastern Illinois University psychology major CJ Mina doesn’t think the curse is the case. Possible blame of the Cubs demise could be placed on the media hype that the team faces every single season with the insurmountable pressure to win it all, according to Mina.

“Cubs cursed?” Mina said. “No. How can any type of superstition account for the Cubs not producing runs during the NLDS this year. Besides, the dude with the ‘Billy Goat’ curse has been dead for almost 40 years now. I think it’s more of the media hype because that’s all [fans] can relate to when the Cubs lose.  Still sad and pitiful though, it’s gonna be 100-plus years.”

Cubs’ historian, author and lifelong Cubs fan George Castle said the Cub’s curse does not exist. Castle said factors within the organization and management gave the team their hundred plus year demise as a soft laden franchise. Not any single one of the curses exists, according to Castle.

“What gives Billy Sianis the right to put a hex on the Cubs?” Castle said. “No one in this world can ever have that power or right to do that!”

The Daley Plaza Picasso sculpture of a woman’s face sports a Cubbie blue lid at a playoff pep-rally in October, 2008. Photo by Albert Covera.

The Daley Plaza Picasso sculpture of a woman’s face sports a Cubbie blue lid at a playoff pep-rally in October, 2008. Photo by Albert Covera.

For those of you less or not familiar with the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” the story goes like this…

Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field during a 1945 World Series game. Fans were bothered by the odor of the goat, and Sianis was asked to leave with his goat.

The request angered Sianis, and the supposed hex came about when he said that the Cubs would not win anymore. Some thought the Sianis hex meant that there never would be another World Series at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, so far, this has been true. There hasn’t been a World Series game there since then. The last time the Cubs even came close was in 2003 when the team was five outs away from clinching the NL Pennant. Then, disaster struck in the fifth inning, and another curse was born.

Bartman was listening to broadcasters Pat and Ron on the radio during game six of the Cubs 2003 NLDS. In the fifth inning Bartman reached up for a foul ball at the same time as Cubs left fielder Moises Alou jumped to make the out.

Sure, it was a catchable ball for Alou, but that ball was clearly within the grasp of all the neighboring spectators. In the close up photographs of that moment other fans near Bartman were also reaching for the ball. Unfortunately, one guy took the heat for the way it was. Bartman became a victim of his own human instinct to catch a ball headed his way.

But there is one thing that people are forgetting. How about the groundball through the wick-its (legs) of normally sure-handed shortstop Alex Gonzales?

No one made a huge deal about that when the Cubs faltered in game seven against the Florida Marlins, the World Series champs that year. That was the fishes’ second in six years, compared to the Cubs zero in the past 100.

Castle said Cubs management and personnel have been the real reason and tale for the lack of winning by the organization.

“Most people, the media especially, like to use the curse as sort of a scapegoat for the Cubs’ miseries in the past century,” Castle said.

No one can explain it. No one can pinpoint the exact cause of failure. But one Sox fan explained it this way.

“The Cubs aren’t cursed! They just suck!” said Alvin Baetiong, a researcher Northwestern University.

Sadly, as a diehard Cub fan, I couldn’t agree more. 

Copyright 2008

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