Steve Bartman and the Curse of the Cubbies

Quite a lot has happened throughout the world since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. The Titanic Sank, Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Soviet Union rose and fell and Steve Jobs brought us the personal computer. In 1908, the Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of the 1907 World Series. 107 years later, the Cubs can lay claim to playing (and losing) in a World Series seven times, their last in 1945. Since then, hope for the team has come and gone with many Cubs fans claiming that the team is cursed. In 2003 the team appeared to be on the upswing, reaching the National League Championship Series (NLCS) against the Florida Marlins. With the Cubs up three games to two and holding a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of game 6, the curse was finally close to breaking. What happened next Cubs fans have held in ire for the last 12 years. Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo hit a foul ball near the stands, which was pursued by Cubs outfielder Moises Alou. However, an unaware spectator, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball and interfered with what would have been the second out of the inning. Afterwards, the Marlins managed to score 8 uncontested runs to beat the Cubs. The Cubs went on to lose Game 7 as well, causing fans to look back to the dreaded “Bartman Incident” as cause to all of the frustration.

Fast forward to the 2015 season and the Cubs are a revitalized franchise. The offseason was full of excitement, considering the big money signing of pitcher Jon Lester and the addition of Joe Maddon as manager. Cubs fans were beyond excited. As it turns out, the Cubs ended up being no joke of a team and as of mid-October they are the favorite to win the World Series. The season went just about as well as one could hope, compiling 97 wins for the third best record in baseball. Perhaps the brightest spot of the season was pitcher Jake Arrieta, who had one of the best seasons in MLB history. The stat that demonstrates his dominance best would be his 0.75 ERA for the second half of the season, the lowest ever recorded. Despite having the third best record, the Cubs entered the postseason as a wild-card team because their division rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, clinched the first seed. This proved to not be an issue for the Cubs; they blew past the Pittsburgh Pirates in the wild-card game and met the Cardinals in the National League Divisional Series (NLDS). The Cardinals proved to be no match for the Cubs who won the series in four games, shooting them into their first NLCS since 2003.

As of October 20, the Cubs are down two games to none in their best of seven series against the New York Mets with the winner moving on to the World Series. However the Cubs have embraced the role of the underdog all year, and under Joe Maddon’s direction, they will surely embrace it now more than ever. Whatever the outcome, you can be sure that all of America will be watching the perennial underdogs in hope that the World Series curse afflicting the Cubs since 1918 may finally be broken.