From Cleveland to Chicago, the scene may have changed but the scenario remains the same as the World Series in baseball is the predominant topic of discussion everywhere.
From Cleveland to Chicago, the scene may have changed but the scenario remains the same as the World Series in baseball is the predominant topic of discussion everywhere. Cleveland Indians are leading Chicago Cubs 2-1 in the best of seven series with the fourth game to be staged here on Saturday night.
Basketball managed to garner attention in Cleveland on the opening day of the season on Tuesday because the Cavaliers received their championship rings. Even basketball players of Cleveland and Chicago are caught in the baseball frenzy because the championship is at stake for the two long-suffering franchises.
The Chicago air is full of excitement about the Cubs’ chances. The Cubs’ fans would give an arm and a leg for the holy grail in baseball because the last one they won was in 1908. No professional team in any American sport has endured a longer drought.
What’s the reason for the Cubs’ agony According to local legend, a goat. Yes, the animal that no one would associate with pitching and home runs. During the Cubs’ game four of the World Series Finals in 1945 at home, the club refused a local tavern owner William Sianis permission to take his goat inside the Wrigley Field although he had bought a ticket for it.
A distraught Sianis is reported to have said: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. They will not win a World Series so long as a goat is allowed in.” The curse, which would later be dubbed ‘Billy the Goat’, started its work immediately as the Cubs lost the series and they hadn’t reached another Finals before 2016.
Josh Frydman, a TV journalist and a Cubs’ fan, said he is hoping that his team would end the curse once and for all by winning the title next week. “Many Cubs’ supporters believe in Billy the Goat. I, however, think good management has brought us to the World Series final. Hiring Theo Epstein as president of our club in 2009 was the turning point. He is a top-class professional. We, Americans, love to attribute the failure of our sports teams to superstitions although rational reasons are available,” he added. Although the Cubs’ supporters have rolled out the red carpet to a goat, brought in by Sianis’s nephew subsequently, at their stadium on various occasions, only near-misses mark their history after 1945.
Epstein’s stock rose after he ended Boston Red Sox’s 86-year-old Curse of Bambino in 2004. The sale of legendary hitter Babe Ruth, who was traded to rivals New York Yankees in 1918 against the wishes of Red Sox fans, brought about the hex.
“I hope Epstein can end our club’s curse as well,” Frydman said, laughing. “My mother and grandmother are all Cubs’ fans and no one knows how a World Series win tastes like. We want the title badly.”
Charles Hayes, who works for the Chicago Bulls basketball team, highlighted another bizarre incident related to the Cubs. He said a fan of the Cubs continues to be in hiding after his efforts to catch the ball from the stands cost the club a place in the World Series in 2003. “Although three fans sitting on the first row went for the ball, it was Steve Bartman who prevented a Cubs fielder from catching it. He hasn’t appeared in public since that incident. Bartman has been receiving death threats till date,” he added. A friend of Bartman has told a newspaper here that the ostracised Cubs fan is still rooting for his club from a secret location.
With tongue in cheek, Hayes said the Cubs would fix the blame on anyone for their miseries. “I hope Billy the Goat doesn’t end this year. I don’t want the Cubs to win the World Series because I’m a fan of the Chicago White Sox baseball team, who are also owned by Chicago Bulls. Who would want his city rivals to win ” he added, laughing.