Tag: Curse of the Bambino

CUBS WIN!!!

  • The Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 last night at delirious Wrigley Field to win their first National League pennant since 1945, a time that dates to the Greatest Generation. Now the northsiders will take on American League champion Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic beginning next Tuesday.

Towns goes crazy! Historic Series awaits!

Better than food!
Better than food!

 

The Cubbies haven’t won the World Series itself in 108 years (1908), the Indians in 68 years (1948). It all reminds me of that night back in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino to end their own 86 years of World Series frustration.

My Chicago friends have always argued that the Cubs’ World Series drought was worse than the Red Sox because it was longer in duration (108 years to a mere 86).  But since their last appearance in the Series in 1945 the Cubs have been perennial losers, never really coming close, almost always out of the pennant race by mid-summer.

Oh, there was the Steve Bartman incident in 2003 when the Cubs were up 3-2 in the NLCS against the Florida Marlins, but the Red Sox have starred in any number of Shakespearean baseball tragedies. Line them up: 1946 and 1967 against the Cards in seven-game series, 1975 against Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, also in seven, and most horrically in 1986 against the N.Y. Mets. Agonizingly just one out away,  congratulations already up on the Mets’ scoreboard, then the grounder dribbles through Buckner’s legs and the champagne gets wheeled away.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the one-game playoff loss to the Yankees in 1978 for the AL East title on Bucky “effing” Dent’s home run off Mike Torres over the Green Monster.

So heartache and pain have long been etched more deeply into the soul of the New England fans than that of the hapless though hopeful Cubby faithful.

So let’s go back to the fateful night of October 27, 2004 when the Red Sox finally won it all against my hometown St. Louis Cardinals. Because this is what it might finally feel like in Chicago in a very short time.  (more…)

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RED SOX, CUBBIES & THE BOSTON MARATHON

Shoe print     As the winter snows give way to the unrelenting muds of March, the small dividing strip of land along Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Massachusetts between Center Street and Hammond Road — a strip that runners know better as Heartbreak Hill along the Boston Marathon route — becomes rutted by the innumerable footfalls that pound its surface every day.  For the area runners who work this hallowed ground through the long, bitter months of winter it is the pull of generations past which draws them through till Marathon day in mid-April.

This is also why there had always been a close connection between the beginning of baseball season and the arrival of the Boston Marathon, for both are harbingers of hope, the promise of better, warmer days ahead. Yet the Marathon, like the long baseball season, while holding hope, never actually promises it.  Would a people who sprung from a Pilgrim’s harsh heritage have it any other way?

Born of myth, the marathon is rooted in failure, even demise.  Its language alludes to that curtain which will befall each of us one day.  “Man, I really died today,” is how a runner describes a poor performance.  So, too, in baseball was failure built into the system;  hit safely just three out of ten times, and you are an honored player.  It is this element of suffering to attain, overcoming to transcend which extends these sports from their 19th century beginnings into today’s nano-second world of instant gratification.

And it is also in that sense of suffering to attain that the long-tormented Chicago Cubs baseball fans can relate to what New Englanders had long gone through with their beloved Red Sox.  Yet even the Cubs’ multi-generational streak of futility and frustration can’t compare to the 87 accursed years that Boston Red Sox fans endured the “Curse of the Bambino”. (more…)