By Bobby Strachan
A scapegoat is a person or thing blamed for the wrongdoings of others, but if you are a Cubbies fan, you have a literal scapegoat. In 1945, Billy Sianis brought his pet goat, Murphy, into the park after he bought two tickets, one for him and one for the goat, to Game 4 of the World Series against the Tigers. During the later stages of the game, then Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley sent orders asking Siannis to leave the ballpark for the reason that his goat stunk. When asked to leave, Siannis declared with outrage, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more! The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field!” Since Siannis and his goat were kicked out, the Cubs have not won a National League Pennant and the last time the Cubs won a World Series was in 1908.
The Chicago Cubs and their fans have tried to reverse the curse a few times since the incident. Four times, the ball club has brought Siannis’ nephew onto the field with a goat, not Murphy, to try and break the curse. The results had the Cubs winning their division twice and getting a playoff berth by way of the Wild Card, but no World Series or Pennants. Some instances which can be seen as consequences of the curse are in 1969 at Shea Stadium when a black cat ran on the field around the on deck circle while Ron Santo was in it and in the 2003 National League Championship Series known as the Steve Bartman incident. Cubs fans thought it was no big deal when the black cat ran around Santo because they had a 9 ½ game lead over the Mets, but the Cubs would lose the lead and the Mets would eventually win the World Series. In 2003, with the Cubs five outs away from going to the World Series a foul ball was deflected away from the glove of Moises Alou which made Bartman public enemy #1. Bartman later apologized to all Cubs fans saying, “There are few words to describe how awful I feel and what I have experienced within these last twenty-four hours. I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cubs fan’s broken heart. I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy that has been vented towards my family, my friends and myself into the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to being National League champs.” Bartman’s beloved Cubs would go on to lose Game 7 and their opponents would win the World Series.
Not all hope in Mudville has been lost, for the Cubs have clinched a spot in the Wild Card Playoff. If that doesn’t bring the Cubs fans hope, remember that Back to the Future II predicted the Cubs would win the World Series (even though they predicted it would be over Miami which is statistically impossible) and they could exact revenge for the collapse in 1969 against the Mets or beat the most expensive team in baseball. And with the probable Cy Young pitcher facing the Buccos, the Cubs have a chance. For in the words of Sir Ernest Lawrence Thayer, a famous American poet-
“Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;”
For there is still hope for the Cubs, the ump hasn’t called their last out!
Because in the game of baseball, the only thing easier to sell than wins, is hope.
Picture 1: Back to the Future II prediction for the 2015 World Series
Picture 2: Steve Bartman interferes with foul ball during Game 6 in the 2003 NLCS