What is the Curse of the Billy Goat? By now, you’ve heard a lot about how the Cubs haven’t made a World Series appearance since 1945 or won the championship since 1908. But do you know why? Here’s your cheatsheet on the Cubs’ terrible Billy Goat Curse...
BYOG. Back in 1945, a Greek immigrant named William Sianis owned the nearby Billy Goat Tavern. He decided to bring his eponymous pet goat to Game 4 of the World Series, because—I guess, that’s what people did back in 1945. Despite having tickets for both himself and his goat, Ushers kicked them out of the stadium because other fans were complaining about the smell. As he was forced out, Sianis raised a crooked finger (I assume) and shouted “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” Despite being up 2-1 in the series at the time, the Cubs went on to lose in 7 games, and the Curse of the Billy Goat was born.
The Curse rears its ugly head. Obviously, the Cubs have a long history of losing, but the most quintessential curse moment came in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS with the Bartman incident. In that game, the Cubs were up 3-2 in the series and were just 5 outs away from moving on to the World Series. In the 8th inning, they were up 3-0, when a fan named Steve Bartman tried to catch a foul ball, deflecting it away from Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. After missing that would-be out, the momentum of the series completely shifted and the Marlins rallied to win Games 6 and 7. In the aftermath, Bartman became the most hated man in Chicago and even had to have police camped out on his block for the next couple of weeks.
Breaking the curse. Cubs fans have tried basically everything to lift the curse, including inviting William Sianis’s nephew Sam and a descendant of the original goat to the stadium in 1998, getting a Greek Orthodox priest to bless the dugout with holy water in 2008, and holding a 40-lb goat-meat eating contest in 2015. Some people even want Bartman to come back and throw out the first pitch at one of the World Series games. In the meantime, Cleveland is taking advantage of the curse, so you should expect lots of goat cameos.