What does the US’ 2016 World Series and a billy goat have in common? Well, if you were to check the etymology of ‘billy goat’ you would find its first known use surfaced in 1820, where the definition simply states: “a male goat.” Female goats, on the other hand are referred to as "does" or "nannies,” and juveniles of both sexes are called "kids”. However, when you Google search further, you’ll find one ‘billy goat’ reference that has historically impacted one very important baseball game.
Curse of the Billy Goat
As the story goes, the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’ relates to a sports-related tale that's now part of baseball lore. When the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise was pitted against the Detroit Tigers in the 1945 World Series, the Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis and his billy goat Murphy attempted to enter the Wrigley Field ballpark to attend the game. Since the goat was his pet, he often traveled with him to events of this type.
However during game four, it seems the odor of his goat quickly became bothersome to other baseball fans. So, Sianis was asked to leave the park and was ushered to the gate by security, stating that animals were not allowed to attend baseball games. The park’s owner P.K. Wrigley stood behind the ruling.
Outraged, Sianis spewed out a hex that seems to have stuck: "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," which has been interpreted to mean that the Cubs would never again win a World Series.
The Cubs then lost the Oct. 6th game and dropped two of the next three games to lose the World Series. Hence, the start of the so-called “Curse of the Billy Goat.”
While it’s now been 71 years since Sianis’ curse was first uttered, it’s important to note that the Cubs were on a very long losing streak prior to this event, since the last time they won a World Series was 1908 — making their total time without a win — 108 years!
Will the tides turn?
Fast-foward to 2016, on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis’ death in 1970, the Cubs just might have a chance to shake that jinx. This year, they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5–0 in game 6 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) to win the NL pennant and advance to the 2016 World Series, pitted against the Cleveland Indians. But will they take home the big prize?
Indians’ Fans think otherwise . . .
Cleveland Indians fans are adamant that the Chicago Cubs' Curse of the Billy Goat live on . . . so, one fan and his wife brought two goats to Progressive Field before this year's first game.
"Everyone was really excited that I did it," Alan Mancuso said. "Especially those that know about the curse."
Mancuso and his wife Beth have three goats that they raised at their Ohio City home. While at church on Sunday, his friend Mark Duskey suggested they perform their own goat curse. Mancuso, 47, a lifelong Indians fan, agreed.
Separately but united with Mancuso’s team loyalty, James Kovach walked two of his goats around the ball park named Dexter and Tug, in advance of the first game with the Cubs on October 25. Kovach said he had traced the lineage of Dexter and Tug, and they may just be distant cousins of Murphy.
So, the superstition lives on and the Indians fans are hoping it works to their advantage again this year.
Presently the jury is out on this one. As of this post, the Indians skunked the Cubs to a 6-0 win in Game 1 at Progressive Field in Cleveland — but on October 26, the Cubs beat back with a 5-1 win in the second game.
Humanitarian Ways to End the Curse?
For those who’d like to see this curse come to an end, there are those who are supporting some humanitarian ways to make that happen. For instance, the Reverse The Curse Chicago initiative urges baseball fans to donate dairy goats to impoverished families in the Caribbean.
Heifer International is also running a charitable campaign where donations are being raised to send goats to families who need them. In a public statement, they noted:
- “Showing fondness toward goats is mentioned as a key to breaking one of the longest running curses in baseball. There’s no better way to do this than donating a goat and its nutrient-rich milk to a family in need.”
What’s your thoughts readers? Cubs Fans, or Billy Goat Curse fans? Will the Cubs bring home the title this year and make ‘Murphy’ roll over in his grave, or will the curse live on another year to deprive the Cubs of shaking that dark cloud that’s plagued them for all these decades?