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    It has been 100 long and painful years for the Chicago Cubs
    and their fans. In 1908, the Cubs won their last World Series and every year
    since, Cubs fans have said “there’s always next year.” The team has come to be
    known as the “loveable losers” and you can’t help but think that Cubs fans may
    be more than a little masochistic. Along the way, the Cubs have had ups and
    downs that just serve to make them a little more loveable.

    It all started on Oct.
    6, 1945
    ; the Cubs were leading the Detroit Tigers in the World
    Series, two games to one. A local bar owner, William Sianis, had bought two
    tickets for the game and decided to bring his pet billy goat, Murphy, to watch
    the game. The goat was not allowed in the stadium, and an appeal to Cubs owner
    P.K. Wrigley failed due to the foul stench of the animal. During his exit from
    the stadium, Sianis reportedly placed the “Billy Goat Curse” upon the Cubs
    franchise by yelling that a World Series would never be played at Wrigley Field
    again. After the Cubs lost the World Series, Sianis sent Wrigley a letter
    saying “Who stinks now?” The Cubs haven’t made it to the World Series in the 63
    years since.

    One of the most famous off-the-field moments in Cubs history
    was on April 29, 1983, when
    Cubs manager Lee Elia gave one of the finest performances in press conference
    history. After a 5-14 start to the season and the team taking a verbal
    bludgeoning from the fans, Elia spoke up. In fact, he spoke up so loudly that
    in a three-minute speech, Elia swore roughly fifty times. With such colorful
    remarks about the Cubs fans, his tirade became legendary.

    “The [expletive] don’t even work,” Elia said. “That’s why
    they’re out at the [expletive] game. They oughta go out and get a [expletive]
    job and find out what it’s like to go out and earn a [expletive] living.
    Eighty-five percent of the [expletive] world is working. The other 15 come out
    here. A [expletive] playground for the [expletive].”

    On the other hand, one of the high points came on May 6, 1998. Then 20-year-old rookie
    pitcher Kerry Wood threw one of the most dominant pitching games in baseball
    history. In only his fifth major league start, Wood threw a complete game
    shutout and allowed only one hit. The hit was a questionable call as it was a
    grounder that bounced off a fielder’s glove. More importantly, Wood struck out
    20 batters in those nine innings, tying Roger Clemens’ record. He went on to
    win the Rookie of the Year Award and became a legend in the hearts of fans. But
    in true Cubs fashion, injuries, surgeries, and long stays on the disabled list
    plagued Wood for years to come.

    Through all this, if anything in recent history has
    solidified the fact that a Chicago
    curse exists, it would be the 2003 National League Championship Series. It was
    Game 6 and the Cubs were leading the Florida Marlins in the series three games
    to two. The Cubs were leading 3-0 in the top of the eighth inning and the
    Marlins had one out and a runner on second. The Cubbies were only five outs
    from their first World Series since the 1945 curse when Luis Castillo hit a
    foul pop fly to the left field wall. Aging left-fielder Moises Alou ran to the
    wall and jumped just high enough to reach his glove over and into position to
    catch the foul ball for out number two. At the same time, Cubs fan Steve
    Bartman reached out to catch the foul ball and appeared to knock it away from
    Alou’s glove. Moments later Bartman had to be escorted out of the stadium under
    a barrage of flying trash, drinks, and profanities. Still alive after the close
    call, Castillo drew a walk from flustered Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, ball four
    being a wild pitch that advanced the runner to third base. A single from Ivan
    Rodriguez made the score 3-1. Miguel Cabrera then hit a ground ball to
    shortstop Alex Gonzalez — one of the best defensive shortstops in the league —
    who, in an attempt to get the double play, bobbled the ball. The Marlins went
    on to score eight runs that inning and defeated the Cubs. Florida
    then won the seventh game of the series and went on to beat the Yankees to win
    the World Series. The Cubs may have lost because of a total defensive breakdown
    that inning, but I still stand by the fact that with a second out from the foul
    pop fly, Gonzalez would not have needed a double play and would have taken his
    time to get an easy out, thus ending the inning at worst at 3-1.

    There is a lot of pressure on the Cubs to win these days and
    they’re responding well to the pressure. The Cubs aren’t kidding around any
    more. Last season the Cubs fired manager Dusty Baker, only after he managed to
    destroy the arms of two of the best pitchers in baseball. They hired Lou
    Piniella as his replacement and picked up pitchers Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis,
    and outfielder Alfonso Soriano. These days in Chicago,
    children learn that two-thirds of the world is covered by water and the rest is
    covered by Soriano. Led by Soriano, the Cubs went from being the worst team in
    the National League Central in 2006 to winning the division and going to the
    playoffs in 2007. During the off-season after the 2007 season, the organization
    again made some major changes to the team. They changed closer Ryan Dempster to
    a starting pitcher, made former starter Wood the closer, pulled some players from
    the minors, and picked up outfielder Kosuke Fukudome from Japan.
    So far this season the Cubs have had a hot start, leading the National League
    Central with a 31-21 record. Behind bats like Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis
    Ramirez and Ryan Theriot, the Cubs have shown that their explosive offense is a
    force to be reckoned with.

    Over the years, people have tried to break the curse a
    number of times and in a number of different ways: letting a goat out on the
    field, burning goat dolls, burning a Bartman effigy, and yet none have worked.
    With the way the Cubs are playing right now though, it seems like there might
    be something special about the 100 years that might be able to stop the drought
    and finally bring a World Series win to Wrigley and the people who’ve waited so
    long to see it.

    If not, there’s always next year.

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