In Chicago, where I live there is an oft' told joke that goes something like this: On any given Summer day there is usually two great baseball teams in town, the second greatest team in Chicago would the White Sox, they're located on the South Side. And on the North Side of the city you'll find the greatest baseball team in town, They're playing against the Cubs!
1969 and 1984 are special years
for Cubs fans.
These are the years when the Cubs blew it big time. I moved to Chicago in 1971. I was eleven years old and inexperienced at the ways of the world. Little did I know that in a few short months Baseball season would begin and my after school cartoons would give way to the most addictive narcotic pushed on the streets of Chicago.
No one warned me, for all of my friends were already hooked. Yes I lived in on the South Side but that didn't matter. Before the season began I could always sneak in an hour or two of non-homework time with the old "I'll start my homework just as soon as Garfield Goose is over!" It worked like a charm.
But then came the Cubs. Hey, I didn't even like baseball that much but if it meant not doing homework... well hell... I was hooked!
If Steve Goodman would have just done A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request 15 years earlier. If I would have just been in Chicago in 1969 just to see how badly they could wrench your guts out, maybe I would've been saved the torment of being a CUBS FAN!
Why did Steve Goodman say "Hey Ernie, Lets play two!"?
Just about any Baseball fan and surely any die hard Cubs fan will tell you what this is all about. Ernie Banks, "Mister Cub", would greet just about every sunny day during the Baseball season with the refrain "Let's Play Two" meaning it was a great day for baseball. Ernie Banks was the first African American to play on the Cubs, being signed in 1954. He is one of just a few "Hall Of Famers" who never had any post season playing time under his belt (Hmmm... I wonder why?!?) He managed to slug 512 hom ers and his number (14 ) was retired by the Cubs in 1971. Though Ernie was signed as a Short Stop and set many a records as one, he actually played more games at First Base during his time with the Cubs. He made it to the Hall of Fame in 1977. (MTC)
Just mentioning the year is enough to send some old timers into fits of rage. Its a miracle that Steve remained a fan after that year. It such a horrendous story that someone actually wrote a book about it, The Cubs of '69? The book interviews all of the Cubs. Here, you can see all of the excuses, We had no relief pitching, too many day games, they just wore out. For some reason they can't come out and say "They Choked"
If you say his name backwards its Yarac Yrrah. Harry Caray, the Suds Pusher for Anheiser Busch left the south side of the Chicago to take over the reins from Jack Brickhouse in 1982. Hell, for twenty five stinking years Harry was the voice of those damned Red Birds from Saint Louis. He also worked for that team on the South Side for 15 years. But the the last sixteen years of Harry's life he was butchering Cubs names and trying to catch flyballs with his fishing net. He has become as much a part of the Cubs family as Ernie Banks. And now Harry, like Stevie, is gone, and the Cubs still haven't come close to a World Series since "We dropped the bomb on Japan".
He did manage to tell a great joke back in 1983.
1984 was the miracle season. The Cubbies managed to do what no other team in
the history of Baseball was ever to do. They were the first team in history
to go into a five game play-off series, win the first two games, and then
Before 1984, Cubs had been "hugging the doormat" for five or six years. but somehow they managed to come in first in the East that year. My personal theory was that the their winning series was directly related to the song "Go Cubs Go". Steve Goodman had written the song for WGN radio that year and that was the Cub's lucky charm. But Steve died that year and with his death, the magic died.
Of course today everyone remembers the "Goat" from the Billy Goat Tavern. Old Style Beer did a series of commercials involving the head of stuffed Billy Goat that would convince patrons to give him an Old Style or the curse on the Cubs would remain in place.
The Curse of the Billy Goat goes something like this:
This is where things get murky. Either the hex was for the Cubs:
Whatever the curse, many people beleive it is true. People have actually performed ritual exorcisms to try and rid Wrigley Field and the Cubs of the Billy Goat Curse.
For some reason no one in official capacity has ever came out said "Maybe its because we can't buy a winning team, we need to develop one."
In a concert performance Steve Goodman gave a major clue to one of the reasons why the Cubs never seem to win. He said "The Cubs signed a 35 year old man to five year contract to play third base, today. Hey he's pretty good ball player, they might even get a year or two out of him. These are the decisions that build winning ball teams."
Are you a betting man? Dennis Franz was in the play/movie titled Bleacher Bums He made a living going to the Wrigley Field and betting against the Cubs.
I don't know if you can make a living on it but you can make book on the World Series.
All you need to do is use the "Cub Factor". This was developed by long time Chicago columnist Mike Royko. It seems all you have to do is take a look at the teams playing in the World Series. Its a sure bet the Cubs won't be there but because it seems like the Cubs are a farm team for every other major league team, there will be several former Cubs in the World Series.
This is where the Cub Factor enters. The team with the most former Cubs will lose the series.
This has been the case twelve out of fifteen times where the Cub Factor has existed. In order for the factor to kick in, at least one of the teams must have no less than three former Cubs rostered.
|Go Cubs Go!|