What. A. Night.
Wrigley Field was electric Tuesday night as Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez each knocked one out of the park to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4, clinching a postseason series at home for the first time ever.
Not only are the 2015 Chicago Cubs the first team in major league history to have six different players age 26 or younger, homer in single postseason, but in only four games they just eliminated the best team in Major League Baseball which led all teams with 100 wins in the regular season.
Things are looking up for this team right now as they head to their first National League Championship Series since 2003, hoping to win their first World Series since 19-oh-f**king-8.
But if they want to get there—winner of the Mets-Dodgers series isn’t the only obstacle that they’re looking to overcome. Both teams look like formidable opponents, but the Curse of the Billy Goat presents a roadblock far stronger than any team.
It’s been seven decades since Billy Sianis cursed the Cubs from the World Series—and seven decades since they’ve been to one. Could this be the year the curse is broken?
The exact account of what happened Oct. 6, 1945 varies, but it goes something like this:
Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, shows up to Wrigley Field along with his pet goat Murphy. There they are, watching the game, each in their own seat, when they’re kicked out by management due to complaints about the the goat’s offensive smell.
Sianis isn’t happy. “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more!” he declares, as long as his goat isn’t allowed in Wrigley Field. Some legends note this declaration takes place at the ballpark, others just outside it, some directly to P.K. Wrigley’s face, and some via telegram.
In any case—the curse begins. The Cubs lose that World Series in 1945 and don’t appear in another (pending).
Shortly before his death in 1970, Sianis reportedly lifts the curse himself, although it doesn’t appear to work. The Cubs won’t even see a postseason game for another 15 years until 1984.
In the ‘80s, Billy’s nephew, Sam Sianis, begins to take matters into his own hands. On Opening Day in 1984, Sam is brought out onto the field with a goat in an effort to break the curse. This season, the Cubs make it to the National League Championship Series—seeing the postseason for the first time since the curse was set in 1945. After ’84, the Cubs won’t make it to the postseason for another 5 years.
In 1989, Sam Sianis is once again brought out onto the field on Opening Day with a goat. This season, they once again make it to the NLCS.
The next time Sam Sianis is brought out onto Wrigley Field with a goat is in 1998 for the Wild Card play-in game. Subsequently, this is the next time the Cubs make it to the postseason after the ’84 NLCS appearance.
Now, five years later, seems to be when Cubs fans really begin to join in on reversing the curse. In ’03, a group of fans and a goat named Virgil Homer make a pilgrimage to Houston where they try to get into Minute Maid Park, home of division-rival Astros. Upon being denied, the fans read a verse from a scroll, proclaiming they are “reversing the curse.”
This season the Cubs, once again, make it to the NLCS and nearly the World Series. Steve F**ckin’ Bartman.
Another postseason appearance, another goat incident. This time, a butchered goat is found hung from the Harry Caray statue by on vigilante fan in another effort to break the curse. Shortly thereafter, the team wins the NL Central division title.
In 2008, the Cubs repeat as winner of the NL Central division title—making their final postseason appearance until now. Perhaps it has something to do with the Greek Orthodox priest who blessed the diamond with holy water.
Another butchered goat head is hung from the statue. The attempt fails.
A group of Cub fans begin the Reverse the Curse initiative—a social enterprise that gives goats to families in developing countries. Doesn’t work for the Cubs, but brings impoverished families good resources. Silver lining.
A group of Cubs fans journey on foot from the team’s spring training facility in Mesa, AZ to Wrigley Field with a goat named Wrigley whom they believe can break the curse. Doesn’t work—but money is raised for the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Facility. Another silver lining.
A third severed head is found—this time addressed and delivered to the team’s owner Tom Ricketts. Gross. Doesn’t work.
A group of competitive eaters consume a 40-pound goat in less than 14 minutes in Chicago. Littleton the Goat marches on Wrigley Field, gains a significant following, and appears to be a public symbol of good karma for the Cubs. The team clinches their first postseason series at Wrigley Field ever.
Perhaps this is the good karma this team needs. Perhaps it’s what these Cubs fans are holding to place blame on if they fail to win another World Series.
Regardless—this is a team that needs to go all the way this year. These are fans that need to taste the sweet nectar of a World Series victory. And not just that—but it should happen at home.
These fans deserve this. They deserve this win and they deserve more. It’s been a long time coming—endless superstitions, excuses, and butcherings along the way. No fanbase deserves it more because no fans base has been through more.