By: Andrew Atkins
After one hundred and seven years of misery and despair, the Chicago Cubs will have to wait at least one more year in their pursuit of a World Series title. The first two titles won by the Cubs were in consecutive years (1907 and 1908) and their last World Series game was in played 1945. So now as the Chicago fans prepare for the winter, their National League Championship Series (NLCS) opponents, the New York Mets will advance to play the winner of the Kansas City and Toronto series.
The Mets quickly won the first three games of the series and in doing so put Chicago in an almost insurmountable hole. Out of the thirty-three, now thirty-four, teams in Major League history to lose the first three games of a best of seven playoff series, only one has come back to win – the 2004 Boston Red Sox (SB nation). One thing that gave Chicago hope was the numerous uncanny similarities between the ‘04 Red Sox and ‘15 Cubs. Both squads were under an appart “curse”, the curse of Babe Ruth for the Red Sox and the curse of the goat for the Cubs, both teams were lead by general manager Theo Epstein, both teams were playing a team from New York (the Red Sox played the Yankees in 2004), and both teams had Manny Ramirez on their payroll. Add that into the “Back to the Future” prediction from 1985 that the Cubs would win the World Series and it just seemed that there was something magical about this year’s team.
Despite their inadequate ability to win the World Series in 2015, the Cubs without a doubt look to be one of the best teams in baseball for years to come. They have acquired numerous young superstars who are under contract for years to come. These types of players basically make up their entire lineup: Anthony Rizzo (1B), Javier Baez (2B/SS), Addison Russell (SS), Kris Bryant (3B), Kyle Schwarber (OF), and Jorge Soler (OF). Most of these young phenoms are still only twenty-six years old or younger. On the pitching side they have top tier veterans such as Cy Young Award candidate Jake Arrieta and workhorse Jon Lester. If there was ever a better time for the Cubs to win, it would be now.
Odds are that the Cubs will soon host the Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner’s Trophy, however odds are not always something that has been in the Cubs’ favor. This all boils back down to the “curse of the goat”. In the 1945 World Series, the Cubs had taken a two games to one lead over the Detroit Tigers. All Chicago had to do was win two more games at “The Friendly Confines” (Wrigley Field) before Detroit won three. Local Cubs fanatic and tavern owner William Sianis purchased two tickets to Game Four of that series: one for himself, and one for his pet goat, Murphy. Sianis looked to bring good vibes to the Cubs players with his goat. Upon arriving at Wrigley, stadium officials refused to allow the two to enter due to their laws prohibiting animals. Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley would allow Sianis in, but not Murphy saying “the goat stinks” (NPR.org). Now enraged, Sianis exclaimed that: “The Cubs 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” (NPR.org). Chicago was promptly swept by the Tigers and has yet to return to the World Series. (NPR.org)
Sianis’ proclamation reins true, and it was especially evident in the NLCS series. It seems as if Sianis is still laughing at the Cubs, for the individual who put on an unprecedented performance in the NLCS was Met second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy batted .529, hit in six R.B.I.’s, and homered once in all four games of the series (four total). Murphy’s performance, along with stellar pitching by young New York arms sunk the Cubs championship dreams. Yet again, Cubs fans go into the winter saying: “Wait ‘til next year!”