The Red Sox were supposedly victims of the Curse of the Bambino for all those years. It’s why they went 87 years without winning a World Series. It stemmed, of course, from their trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees and seeing the fortunes of both franchises instantly changed directions.
With the Cubs, the source of their World Series futility is blamed on the Curse of the Billy Goat. It supposedly happened when the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, a guy named Billy Sianis, was turned away from entering Game 4 of the 1945 World Series against the Tigers at Wrigley because he wanted to bring his goat.
Yes, his goat.
And why not? After all, he had purchased two tickets.
But fans complained that his goat smelled god awful and asked that it not be allowed in. The ushers agreed.
Offended, Sianis stormed away from Wrigley Field yelling to team officials, “Them Cubs, they ain’t never going to win no more.”
Apparently, curses ignore double negatives.
According to his family, immediately upon returning home, Sianis sent off an angry telegram to Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley reading: “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again because you insulted my goat.”
But there are a few things that I don’t get.
For starters, who brings a goat to a ballpark with him? When has anyone ever been allowed to bring livestock of any kind to a major league baseball post-season game?
And how was it an insult to his goat? Aren’t goats supposed to smell awful? That’s what goats do. They live out in the open under the sweltering sun on dusty farmland and roll in the dirt all day while covered with their own goat pee and goat crap. Smelling awful is a goat’s sense of pride.
But here is the kicker. His family said he immediate fired off a telegram to the Cubs owner.
Wait, his family? This guy had family? He had a wife and kids? And he had an extra ticket to the World Series? And he chose to take his goat?
Must have made his wife mighty jealous.
Imagine how slighted his son must have felt too. “Aw, gee, Joey, I wasn’t able to go to the World Series because my dad took his goat.”
Maybe the curse that has kept the Red Sox from winning the World Series for so long, along with the Cubs and Indians—and Rangers—is the curse of so many years of bad ownership, bad decision-making, bad luck and bad timing.
And maybe the only way to break those curses is with smarter baseball sense.
It worked in Boston, and it will work this year in either Cleveland or Chicago.
And, if the direction of the franchise keeps trending in its current direction, some day soon in Texas.
Until then, all we can do is curse at the team.
Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10) vs. Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4,40)
Game time: 7:08, FOX