As a fan of baseball, one cannot help but stand up, clap, and smile at the sight of the Chicago Cubs winning the National League (NL) Pennant and heading to the World Series. After not seeing the Fall Classic for 71 years, the Cubs finally came back to compete for a title that they had not held since 1908: World Series Champions.
If the Cubs making the World Series in the first place wasn’t enough, the Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit to win three games in a row.
The series was filled with nerve-wracking and exciting moments, all leading up to a crazy, dramatic and climactic winner-takes-all Game 7, ending with the Cubs rallying to win in the top of the tenth inning.
The historical impact of the Cubs World Series appearance itself is gigantic, let alone their win. The last time the Cubs were in the World Series was 1945. Before this year, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series, there were no Major League Baseball (MLB) teams west of St. Louis; there was no color television; and World War II had just ended.
Since 1945, the Cubs have been met with several “curses” that kept them from playing another World Series until this year.
The Curse of the Billy Goat
In 1945, the Cubs were on the receiving end of what is now known as “The Curse of the Billy Goat.” Prior to game four of the 1945 Chicago World Series where the Cubs battled the Detroit Tigers, William “Billy Goat” Sianis attempted to bring his goat Murphy into Wrigley Field. When he was stopped at the gate and told that he could not bring Murphy into the stadium, Sianas bellowed the words that many fans feel changed the Cubs fate for over 70 years: “[The Cubs] are going to lose the World Series and never win another World Series again.”
The Curse of the Black Cat
In 1969, the Cubs were on pace to win the NL, but during a game against the New York Mets, a black cat ran in front of the Cubs dugout. This may have just been a case of superstition, but the Cubs went on to break down, eventually losing enough games to be eliminated from the playoffs, beginning the “Black Cat Curse.”
The Bartman Curse
In 2003, the Cubs were five outs away from beating the Florida Marlins 3-0 in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) which would have advanced them to the World Series when a ball was hit down the left field line. Cubs’ outfielder Moises Alou leaped up against the wall to catch the ball, but Steve Bartman, a Cubs fan sitting in the front row, went for the ball, breaking up what would have been the second out on the inning. The Marlins proceeded to come back, ultimately causing them to win the game and the series. From this, the “Bartman Curse” was born.
Whether or not you believe in curses and whether or not these curses are real, many fans feel that these three incidents have effectively held the Cubs out of the World Series for the better half of a century.
Because the Cubs have not gone to the World Series in 71 years, the vast majority of Cubs fans have only known disappointing seasons and heartbreaking playoff losses. Although they have been nicknamed “The Loveable Losers” over the years, Cubs fans have been treated to a culture of hard work, brought in by Manager Joe Maddon. The last two seasons, the Cubs have won 97 and 103 games respectively, making it to the NLCS both years, and finally winning the World Series this year.
Even outside of the friendly confines of the north side of Chicago, baseball fans have taken notice of just how special this is.
Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck, son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, grew up in St. Louis as a Cardinals fan. The Cardinals and their fans, who are the Cubs’ biggest rival, have even come to appreciate the significance of this. Buck, who did play-by-play commentary for the NL Playoffs and the World Series this year, said in Sports Illustrated that broadcasting a World Series game at Wrigley Field was be the number one highlight of his career. For him, the Cubs playing the World Series is bigger than just baseball.
“If you are a sports fan, you are cheating yourself if you don’t appreciate this moment,” Buck said.
Being able to say that you had the privilege of seeing the Cubs not only make it to the World Series but also win is something that not only Cubs fans can be proud of. The Cubs’ World Series win is a cause for celebration for generations of baseball fans and regardless of the team one associates with.
Much like Kurt Gibson’s walk off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, the 2016 World Series will go down as one of the most historic moments in baseball history. For decades to come, fans will be able to say where they were and what they were doing when the Cubs became champions after 71 years.