Are we diehard Chicago Cub fans dreamers? Fools? Well, up until this season, I’d have to weigh in on the side of foolish dreamers. As everyone knows, “America’s Team” hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. The odds are not on the side of the Cubs. Yet, somehow, the team took the National League Central championship last night, even if they backed in after the Giants beat the Cards. The Cubs boast the best record in the majors and present a lineup of young guys who have caved only once during the season. (The naysayers—and that may include everyone except my son—slid back into the disheartening but sadly comfortable position of Maybe Next Year.)
But this year feels different, though few (excluding my son once again) are ready to go out on a limb and declare that, for the first time in over ten (count them!) ten decades, “America’s Team” will take it all.
There’s that Curse of the Billy Goat that dates back to October 6, 1945, when a local bar owner supposedly placed a hex on the club for booting his foul-smelling pet goat out of Wrigley Field. The Cubs have been pushing the ball uphill ever since.
Joe Maddon, the manager of the Cubs, is a jokester who likes to keep his team loose. He declares, say, a 1970s day when the entire team comes to the ballpark dressed in bell bottoms, flowery shirts or one-piece jumpsuits. (Think John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.”)
So, it wouldn’t surprise fans if he stuck it to the Curse of the Billy Goat and let a goat onto the field before the first game of the playoffs. He might even use the new Wrigley Field jumbotron and flash a montage of goats adorned with Cubs caps, shirts and other uniform paraphernalia.
So, all you Cubs’ devotees around the country hold onto your hats. It’s going to be quite a playoff season. Maybe, just maybe, all us diehards can at long last hold our heads high, wash our hands of the Curse (and the Cards while we’re at all), and celebrate our steadfastness—some may call it lunacy—and revel in collective joy before we get back to the divisiveness of the upcoming Presidential election.