The Lovable Losers, while accurately representing at least one of those monikers, managed to lose three straight NLDS games for the second year in a row. As good a team as they were on paper and throughout the season, is it safe to say that the “curse of the billy goat” is indeed a real phenomenon?
I’ve seen and heard some pretty crazy things in my time. I have a friend who swears on his life that he saw the ghosts of three children in his room one night while we were both living in Africa. Personally, I had a snake in my house one day that a neighbor told me was the result of a curse. And you know what? I don’t doubt either one of those things. But if you try to tell me that the Cubs lost because of some long dead cloven-hoofed animal, well, I’ve got a bridge up in Brooklyn I wouldn’t mind selling you.
The fact of the matter is, the Cubs just stunk. They couldn’t field the ball. They couldn’t hit. And they definitely couldn’t score runs. The real problem with the Cubs was not a curse. It was hubris. As you have mentioned several times, including the other day, the Cubs, along with the whole north side of Chicago, were sure that this was their year. It had been 100 years and they had the best team in the NL. What could possibly stand in their way? It was their turn, right? But, the Cubs suffered the same fate as Hillary Clinton. Entitlement is no substitute for elbow grease as both Mrs. Clinton and the Cubs discovered.
I want to get back to the idea of curses, though. Athletes and sports fans tend to be a superstitious lot and so the notion of a curse makes perfect sense in that context. Hell, I’ve been a Lions fan for years and if any team’s fans have the right to believe they’re cursed, the Lions’ sure do. But really, the Lions are just a terrible team with poor management. Curses are the easy way out.
Believing in curses is like believing in god. If it’s what gets you through the day and keeps you from chopping up someone on a bus, go for it. But the idea of some guy cursing a team because he couldn’t watch a game with his goat 60 years ago makes only slightly more sense than the idea of the entire world being made in 6 days, six thousand years ago by some omnipotent being with a split-personality disorder. Again, if you buy that I’m willing to throw in that bridge for only a few dollars more.
So here’s a short but sweet answer to your question: The Cubs lost because of hubris and curses are the “opiate” of the fans. And yes, it really is that simple.