After a three-week hiatus I’m back. I spent the past two weekends having fun with good friends and family celebrating my birthday and my wife’s too. That being said, what a time to take a vacation!
While I was gone, America elected an unlikely president. Even more eventful, however, they will be raising the World Championship Flag above the iconic scoreboard at Wrigley Field next spring.
Anyone who is a sports fan, and a baseball fan in particular, has to be happy about the outcome of this year’s Series (unless you are from Cleveland and possibly St. Louis or the South Side of Chicago). Even some of the White Sox faithful may have gotten swept in the “fly the flag” hysteria that swept the Windy City following the Cubs victory. Congratulations goes out to the Cubs organization and their long-suffering fans. To quote New York Rangers voice Sam Rosen “this is one to last a lifetime!”
Since 1994 we have seen three so-called curses broken. The Rangers broke the National Hockey Leagues longest drought of 54 years by defeating the Vancouver Canucks in a gripping seven game final that year.
In 2004 we witnessed history on many levels, courtesy of the Boston Red Sox. Trailing the Yankees 0-3 in the American League Championship Series it appeared to be another Boston nightmare. The beloved Sox seeing the Curse of the Bambino advance to year number 87, while the hated Yankees head to yet another Series and possibly another MLB leading World Championship. This self-proclaimed Cast of Idiots chipped away at that lead one game at a time and would win the series in seven dramatic games. The World Series would result in a four game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, who, by the way own the second most titles behind the Yankees.
No other organization in professional sports has been associated with more curses than the loveable losers from the Near North Side.
Consider the following:
- 1945 Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis is asked to leave Game 4 of the World Series by officials at Wrigley Field due to the odor of Murphy, his pet billy-goat. Sianis was so incensed that he proclaimed “Them Cubs aint gonna win no more!” The Cubs would lose the 1945 Fall Classic and not make another appearance until this year. The loss would continue the famine that began following the Cubs 1908 World Championship.
- 1969 The Cubs lead the National League Eastern Division by nine games over the New York Mets. Chicago had a chance to put a nail in the Mets coffin during an August series at Shea Stadium. During the series a black cat mysteriously ran on the field. It passed behind Ron Santo in the Cubs on deck circle. The Mets would win that game and go on to win all but five games the rest of the way. The Cubs collapsed and saw the Mets win the division and go on to defeat the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles to win the 1969 World Championship
- 2003 Six outs away from finally breaking the curses that followed them, fate would strike again. Florida Marlins shortstop Luis Castillo launched a foul ball down the left field line at Wrigley. Cubs left fielder Moises Alou had a beat on it and poised to catch it and record the first out of the eight inning of game six. Cubs fan Steve Bartman snatched the ball from his seat overlooking the left field line. Alou was incensed, Bartman was escorted out of Wrigley, like William Sianis, but this was for his own safety. Castillo would hit a grounder to shortstop Alex Gonzalez, however it went between his legs. Florida would go on to score eight runs to win game six. They would come from behind the next night to end the Cubs season. Oh, and by the way the Marlins defeated the Yankees in six games to win the World Championship.
In a hard-fought series this year, Cubs fans had to be wondering once again. Holding a 6-3 lead over the Cleveland Indians, six outs away from breaking all of the curses, a gasp can be heard around Wrigley Field all the way from Cleveland. Brandon Guyer’s RBI double drove in Jose Ramirez to bring the Indians within two runs. Rajai Davis’ home run to left field brought a chill to Waveland Avenue as the Tribe tied the game at 6. A rain delay and an extra inning later history was made!
Five million fans crowded downtown Chicago to celebrate baseball’s version of Sam Rosen’s iconic hockey call.
So where does history go from here? The longest baseball drought now belongs to the reigning American League champions. The Indians last won the World Series in 1948. Can this team follow the Cubs and end their drought? There aren’t any storied curses affiliated with this team, just years of bad baseball. They did make World Series appearances in 1995, 1997 and this year losing to the Braves, Marlins, and Cubs respectively.
The longest drought in professional sports belongs to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals last won the NFL Championship (way before the AFL, AFC and Super Bowl) in 1947 as the Chicago Cardinals They defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 28-21. Since then the Cardinals franchise have called St. Louis and Arizona home. By the way the last time the Eagles won a championship was 1960, seven years before the advent of the Super Bowl and the same year as the birth of the American Football League.
So who’s next to make history and how long will it take?
I want to take this time to wish all of my readers a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!