On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Chicago Cubs made history. They won the National League Championship Series (NLCS), meaning that they will advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945. This 71-year dry spell is often attributed to “The Curse of the Billy Goat,” which took place in 1945.
Billy Sianis, owner of the famous Billy Goat Tavern and well-known public figure in Chicago, brought his pet goat to Game 4 of the World Series that year. In the middle of the game, he was asked to leave because fans were complaining about the smell of the goat. As the legend goes, he left the stadium feeling offended and cursed the Cubs, saying, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”
With Sianis’s social status, his curse was circulated rapidly, and in no time, all of Chicago knew what had been said. The Cubs ended up losing the World Series that year, and have not appeared in the World Series since.
Over the years, Billy Sianis and his relatives have tried to take back the curse. His nephew even brought a pet goat to a Cubs game in an effort to reverse the curse. But all attempts were unsuccessful and the Cubs were deemed cursed.
Year after year, hopeful Cubs fans watched their team struggle despite numerous trades and draft picks designed to improve the team’s odds. With a team full of young talent, this year’s Chicago Cubs finally broke the curse. In an interesting, yet extremely eerie coincidence, Sianis passed away on Oct. 22, 1970, precisely 46 years before the day the curse was broken.
The game that sent the Cubs to the World Series was a phenomenal one. The Cubs were leading the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, three games to two. In game six, the Cubs were pitted against one of the best pitchers in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. After a poor offensive performance and a loss in game two against Kershaw, it was expected that the Cubs would lose again in game six.
Unexpectedly, the Cubs scored two runs in the first inning and continued to build upon their lead throughout the game. Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who is having the best season of his career, had a stellar outing, shutting the Dodgers out for eight innings. The Cubs then brought in their closer, Aroldis Chapman, who also had a great outing.
With a final score of 5-0, Cubs fans and the city of Chicago are thrilled that their team is free of the curse that has hung over Chicago for so long.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs are a unique team in many aspects, but their youth is one of the most notable. The position players on the team are among the youngest in baseball, and they believe that this helped them overcome the curse.
When asked about the curse by Northeast Public Radio, third baseman Kris Bryant said, “We’re too young. We don’t care about it. We don’t look into it. This is a new team. This is a completely different time of our lives. We’re enjoying it and our work’s just getting started.”
The Cubs are well equipped to take on the Cleveland Indians, with three excellent starting pitchers, a flame-throwing closer and a powerful run-scoring offense. The Indians will be a great challenge, but the Cubs are favored to win according to Odds Shark and nearly all other credible predictions.
With this World Series berth, the Cubs will have the opportunity to win their first World Series in over a century. For the Cubs, there is much to be proud of, but there is still much more to be done. They will attempt to carry the momentum of their big win into Game 1 of the World Series, which takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 25.