first draft final paper

Dan Foreman
Rachel Robson
Composition & Communication
19 April 2009
Curse of the Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are known to be the ‘cursed’ team in the MLB. This curse dates back to 1945 when the Cubs were in the World Series playing the Tigers for the fourth time in their history of World Series play. The series was 2-1 in the Cubs favor after the third game, but that was the last game that the Cubs would win in the series. During the third game at Wrigley field, home of the Cubs, a local tavern owner named Billy Sianis was asked to leave because he had brought a goat into the game and the goat had a foul odor that fans complained about (MLB, 2009). While being escorted out of the stadium, “He was outraged and declared, ‘Them Cubs, they aren't gonna win no more,’ which has been interpreted to mean that there would never be another World Series game played at Wrigley Field” (Wiki, 2009). Another version of the story is that he was not granted access into the field even though his goat had a paid ticket, but in either case, there is a curse said to still be affecting the Cubs to this day. There is no real curse on the Chicago Cubs baseball team, but they use this ‘curse’ as do other losers, needing something to fall back upon rather than taking responsibility for the results. According to Bill Savage, an English professor at Northwestern, “If there's a curse, the universe has deep meaning and order. If it's just that the [team] is bad or unlucky, it's the abyss.” (Alter, 2003)
On top of the Curse of the Billy Goat, there have been other instances in the Chicago Cubs history that people see as other ‘curses’ and to why the Cubs haven’t won. The curse is said to have lived on through a moment in 1969 when a black cat was let onto the field by Mets fans and “it made a beeline for Ron Santo as he stood in the on-deck circle. The cat cast a haunting glare at the All-Star third baseman, then headed for the Cubs dugout, where it stared down the Chicago players as it skulked back and forth, the whole Stadium watching, amazed at this odd turn of events” (Ray, 2007). Before this happened the Cubs were up in the division by as much as 9 games at one point, but ended up going 8-17 in the last month of the regular season putting them in 3rd place. The most recent of the curse story was in 2003 in the National League Division Series against the Florida Marlins. The Chicago Cubs were five outs away from going to the World Series when the Marlins hitter Juan Castillo hit a long fly ball down the left field line. The left fielder for the Cubs at the time, Moises Alou, went after the ball, jumping to catch it near the stands when a fan named Steve Bartman decided to try and grab the ball at the same time. His interference with that fly ball changed the rest of the game. After that play, it was clear that the Cubs as a whole collapsed, giving up eight runs in the 8th inning. After that game they went on to lose the series, giving people more of a reason to talk about the curse (Ray, 2007).
The goat legend is one known across the United States, and even though it has its reasoning as to why the Cubs might be cursed, there are a number of arguments to be made against this idea. The first idea is that the curse was said to start in 1945, so how can a person account for the number of years between then and when they won their last World Series in 1908? According to Chicago Cubs website full of information from the MLB, the Cubs made it to the World Series on six different occasions from 1909-1944 (MLB, 2009). Of course a person not knowing anything about the curse or the Chicago Cubs, will still believe in the curse stating that it has been 100 years since the Cubs have won it all. This length of time is the longest streak of time not winning a World Series in the MLB. The Boston Red Sox were the victims of a ‘curse’ just as the Cubs are, but they broke the curse winning the World Series in 2004 leaving the Cubs to be the only ‘cursed’ team left in the league.
Another reason as to why the Cubs haven’t been as fortunate as other teams in the last century comes down to the owners of the team, management, talent, and the competition that they play. Every one of these aspects weighs heavily on the team in that they must all work together to have any sort of success. Players come and go, some with a great amount of talent, some not so much. In the 100 years of the Cubs not winning a World Series, they have had around 50 different managers, a great number of different players, and a number of different owners. These three different categories had their ups and downs throughout the last century but just couldn’t put it together like some of their competition could. For example the New York Yankees have earned 26 World Series titles in the past century out of the possible 39 times that they made it that far (MLB, 2001-2009). In the years that the Cubs brought their best combination of the different pieces, it didn’t equal up to the competitions combination. Every Cub since 1945 has had to listen to this ‘curse’ and try to play through it and prove that there is no real curse, but have had no luck in doing so. In order to try and change the outcome, people have tried a number of different rituals. Some of the rituals that have been performed in the last century to try and reverse the curse are preposterous. The most recent of these rituals was done in 2004, when Grant DePorter, a local restaurateur, paid $113,000 for the infamous "foul ball", vowing to destroy it and with it, he hoped, the Cubs' bad luck. They gave the ball a last dinner of steak, shrimp, and beer, before having Michael Lantieri demolish the ball, leaving only string as a result (The ball, 2004). Now who is the sane person here? The person believing that there is no real curse on the Cubs, or the population that was watching the national broadcast of the ball sitting next to a final dinner before being destroyed?
Apart from the management, players, or even owners, a person must put into perspective the idea of probability and statistics. Seeing that there are thirty teams in the MLB, the team would have a 1 in 30 shot at taking the title, when looking at chance alone. After speculating chance, one must then figure in the fact that baseball is a game of failure. A good hitter will have an average of .300, translating into for every 10 at bats he manages to get 3 hits. That would leave 7 at bats of him failing to get a hit, not commenting on how many actual at bats he has that might not have counted. A late Chicago columnist, Mike Royko, was a Cubs fan because they reminded him that people fail in most cases and that we all die at some point (Alter, 2003). Even though the probability of the Cubs winning the World Series sometime in the near future may be higher than some other teams since they have the longest dry streak, it doesn’t account for the talent or management that the team has at that time. in addition, even if the probability is low that a team will win, a team can still pull it off with the right amount of talent, good management, and good owners. The New York Yankees are a great example for this considering they have won more than one World Series’ consecutively. To be exact, they have done it on six different instances, ranging from winning it two times in a row to as many as 5 times in a row (MLB, 2001-2009).

Works Cited
(2009). Curse of the Billy Goat. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_the_Billy_Goat
Fleming, Frank (2001, March 21). Historical Moments. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from Chicago Cubs (1876-Present) Web site: http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nl/chicubs/cubs.html
Alter, Johnathan (2003, October 27). Curses! Foiled Again. And Again.. Newsweek, 142, Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=114&sid=1db16f0f-0ace-4889-bf6e-beb3946959ba%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=11119179
Ray, James L (2007, July 2). Chicago Cubs Legendary Curses. Suite 101, Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://baseball.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_chicago_cubs_curse_continues
(2001-2009). World Series Overview. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from MLB.com Web site: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/postseason/mlb_ws.jsp?feature=recaps_index
(2004, March 6). The ball gets it. Economist, 370, Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=116&sid=f8d78250-1bd6-4a93-817d-9a3fe8b5dea7%40sessionmgr107&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=12446919

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