A Ranking Of This Year's Cubs Superstitions
By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Oct 22, 2015 6:31PM
An allegedly unlucky Cubs mascot in 1906 (Library of Congress)
Cubs fans really thought that this was their year. This year was a chance to shed the team's long history of superstitions—and the weight of 107 years without a World Series win. But old habits die hard.
Cubs fans have a long history of meditating on fate, curses and signs from above. In 1909, just a year after their last World Series win, the Chicago Tribune blamed President William Howard Taft for their loss after he showed up to a game, saying the team caught "a bad attack of Taftitis." Harsh! An Examiner reporter in 1916—who had witnessed a Cubs World Series win—complained that the Cubs mascot (actual cub bears!) weren't pulling their weight: "These bear mascots are a hoodoo. They had a flock of them at the world's series in 1906 and the Cubs lost with ease."
So we could talk about the actual mechanics of the Cubs' performance this year; how the Cubs are a team full of young talent and how next year might really be their year; we could talk about the Mets' pitching or sabermetrics. But instead let's take a totally scientific look back on this year's new and lingering superstitions. We've put in ascending order of likelihood.
Poor Steve Bartman. It's been twelve years, and Cubs fans still haven't forgotten about him or forgiven him. He (allegedly) interfered with one foul ball at an NLCS game—a key moment, it's true—but he has carried the burden of every disappointing Cubs season ever since. Listen guys, the infamous Bartman ball has been blown up and then boiled into a spaghetti sauce, and it hasn't done a damn thing. Maybe it's time to let this one go.
Conclusion: The Cubs need good luck, but probably not a human sacrifice. (However, we will discuss the possibility of a goat sacrifice below.)
Making sure that ball won't go anywhere (Courtesy of the Cubs)
Kyle Schwarber's Home Run
Not only have Cubs fan not shed the superstitions of their past, but they came up with new ones this season. Kyle Schwarber hit a monster home run, which was really impressive. It even landed on top of the scoreboard under a huge Budweiser sign, also impressive. But was it a sign from above? There were reports that it hit the "W" letter in "Budweiser." There are eight other letters in Budweiser. It could have hit any of those, but it hit the "W"! The "W" as any fan knows, stands for winning. Could this mean this was the Cubs' year? The Cubs encased the ball in plexiglass, like a holy saint's relic. Better not to tempt fate, right? It didn't work out, though. Fortunately, this ball doesn't seem to have any bad juju, so maybe the Cubs won't have to burn it or cook it in spaghetti sauce. Schwarber should keep this one, though, it was a pretty sweet hit and it made fans proud.
Conclusion: Sometimes a home run is just a home run.
It was supposed to happen this year! It was destiny!
Back to the Future
As both the Cubs and Donald Trump (the model for Biff Tannen) picked up steam this season, it seemed like the Back to the Future prediction that this was the Cubs' year could actually be destiny. I mean, sure the timeline was a bit off, since the World Series still hasn't happened. All the same, it felt especially heartbreaking to see the Cubs lose so horribly to the Mets on National Back To The Future Day. Maybe we should just be impressed the movie predicted that USA Today would still be in circulation? And possibly 9/11?
Conclusion: Complete bust, though we're still worried about the whole Trump thing.
Maybe we needed more of shirtless Bill? via GIPHY
Bill Murray's Body
Bill Murray is a civic and national treasure. But is he a good luck charm for the Cubs? Both he and manager Joe Maddon (who will make another appearance on this list) thought it might be a good idea for Murray to touch the line-up card for the Cubs after the team had lost two games in their series against the Mets. Not only did Murray touch the card but he rubbed it all over his body. Jimmy Kimmel had a suggestion that borders on heresy: that Murray might be the reason the Cubs lost. Murray contends that it was a chilly night, and he might have been wearing "too many layers" for his good-luck essence to rubbed off on the Cubs.
Conclusion: Unlikely; needs further testing with a shirtless Bill Murray.
Left: Joe Maddon on Opening Night game on April 5, 2015 in Chicago. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Right: Joe Maddon on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Joe Maddon's Facial Hair
Let's give it to Maddon and the Cubbies: they came pretty damn close this year. Early on in the season, Maddon said that he was growing out his facial hair so that he would look more like the leaders of other winning Chicago teams. We've got a soft spot in our heart for Maddon, not just because he has a rep for being one of the best in the biz but because he got right into the swing of Cubs superstition right off the bat. He noted that his beard was a little patchy in parts. And now he's got a whole year—not only of nurturing his team's young talent—but growing in a fuller beard.
Conclusion: Let's start a Change.org petition asking Maddon to keep the beard...just in case.
That infernal goat...
Curse of the Billy Goat
This is a better scapegoat (get it?) than poor Steve Bartman. As we all know, Billy Sianis was refused entry into a 1945 World Series game. He placed a hex on the team that seems have endured. Cubs fan would like nothing more than to put this whole billy goat episode behind them, and pretend it never happened. But if you know anything about satanists, you know that messing with goats is a bad idea. We got a little nervous when Cubs fan Stephen Colbert tempted fate by kicking a billy goat from his audience:
"You'll be sorry"
And yet here we are again. Tantalizingly close, but no cigar. Cubs fan, Chicago native and former editor of sister site LAist made a suggestion last week that couldn't have hurt:
and if i was the rickets family, the owners of the cubs, i would fill the friendly confines with goats. it should be Goat Day tomorrow. bring a goat, get in free, bring a goat get a hat, bring goat meat get a free Old Style.
there should be goat shwarmas being sliced up beneath the stands, there should be goat blood shots being poured in the surrounding bars,
and before the game there should be goat races
around the bases
I mean, PETA probably wouldn't be happy, but if nothing else, it'd probably freak the Mets out a little bit?
Conclusion: I don't know, guys, this one seems like it might be real.