Cubbies and Indians face off tonight at 8:06pm Eastern Time, US, and the game is taking place in Cleveland.
This is game 6 of a best of 7 series. The Indians lead 3 games to 2 now, and so the Cubs are in a "must win" situation. Indians win the Series tonight if they prevail. Cubs win means it goes back to Wrigley Field in Chicago for game 7.
I am not a big fan of either of these teams, although I have a soft-spot for the Cubs. Any team that can win in 1908, and still be without a championship 108 years later, deserves some sympathy. Although, some of the magic goes away if they do win -- like when the Boston Red Sox ended their long "curse of the Bambino" drought -- part of the appeal of being a Sox fan was lost, because of that curse was broken.
The Cubs curse is much more severe. William Sianis owned the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago. In 1945, he brought his goat to the ballpark, and the smell of the animal was bothering some fans. The goat and its owner were asked to leave the ballpark. This was during game 4 of the 1945 World Series against the Detroit Tigers. He declared that the Cubs wold not win again, which was interpreted to mean that they would not win the World Series, or that they would not win a National League "Pennant" again.
It was not until 2016, on the 46th anniversary of Mr. Sianis' death, that the Cubs won a National League Pennant. So, arguably the curse has already been broken. However, their World Series drought will continue for another year, if they cannot win the next two games. If the curse meant "no world series championships" then the curse still remains.
It is said, however, that the curse which is applicable to the Chicago Cubs is not the Billy Goat Curse, but the curse of "Merkle's Boner." LOL. Merkle's Boner is not a reference to an untoward penile erection, but rather a notorious base running mistake committed by rookie Fred Merkle of the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs in 1908. Merkle's failure to advance to second base on what should have been a game-winning hit led instead to a force-out at second base, and a tied game. The Cubs later won the makeup game, which proved decisive as they beat the Giants by one game to win the National League (NL) pennant in 1908. It has been described as "the most controversial game in baseball history." Back then, the games could end in a tie, because they didn't have lights to play at night, and games could be called off because of darkness if they dragged on too long.
So, what happened is, Fred Merkle singled, meaning he got to first base, and that advanced a runner who was already on the bases to third. So, Merkle was on first and another runner was on third. Shortstop Al Bridwell came up to bat next with two outs. Bridwell swung at the first pitch and drilled an apparent single into center field. The man on third base ran to home plate, and the game appeared to be over, a 2–1 Giants victory (it was the bottom of the final inning, meaning if the Giants took the lead, the Cubs would never get to bat again, so it's over). Giants fans poured out of the stands and mobbed the field; fans sitting behind home plate customarily crossed the field to exit the ballpark via the outfield in this era. Merkle, advancing from first base, saw the fans swarming onto the playing field. He turned back to the dugout without ever touching second base. Official rule 4.09 stated that "A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made ... by any runner being forced out." Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers is said to have shouted to center fielder Solly Hofman, who, even though the field was filled with fans, retrieved the ball and threw it to Evers, forcing Merkle out at second base. That meant the runner who ran home from third did not score, because the third out of the inning had been forced out at second.
Before they could clear the field of fans, darkness fell, and the umpire called it even. That means a make-up game had to be scheduled, which the Cubs went on to win, which let them go to the 1908 World Series.
There were a lot of people pissed off at the time, and some people believe that the curse relates back to that dirty way the Cubs made it to the championship that year. Stories as to what actually happened conflict, with some people saying the outfielder had thrown the ball away already and that it was retrieved from the stands before it was thrown to the second baseman. If the fan gets the ball, the play should be called dead, and Merkle wouldn't have to advance, because he couldn't have been thrown out.
I would think the curse stems from Merkles's Boner (the world series curse), and the "pennant" curse is the Billy Goat curse. They've broken the Billy Goat curse, but they have yet to break the Merkle's Boner curse, and they have to win 2 games to break it.
“When I was in college, I took a terrorism class. ... The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said ‘Al Qaeda’ his shoulders went up, But you know, it is that you don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity, you don’t say ‘England’ with the intensity. You don’t say ‘the army’ with the intensity,” she continued. “... But you say these names [Al Qaeda] because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to be something.” - Ilhan Omar