Photo Credit: calltothepen.com
There is something about superstition that seems to be apart of baseball more than any sport on Earth. There may even be an argument towards the most superstitious action ever. The inconsistency is to blame. In most sports, players will perform relatively the same every game, despite a few small exceptions. For example, a player in the NBA who scores 25 points per game will score from 20-30 points every night almost every game, plus or minus maybe 2 or 3 points. In the MLB, however, an absolute superstar could go 0-4 with 3 strikeouts tonight, then go 4-5 with 2 home runs as soon as the very next game. It almost forces us to question if everyday chores or jobs we do play an impact on a player that is playing across the entire country.
As a high school baseball player, I know as a team altogether there is a slight superstition in almost everyone. Back as a freshmen, I remember every game hearing “don’t you dare step on the foul line! Do you want us to lose?”, or “That quarter was in the dugout for a reason! Good job freshmen, you just made us lose!” Being the young freshmen I was, I figured they were right. Heck, I still will admit I do. Being a huge MLB fan(and more importantly, a Rockies fan), I know that superstition even settles in as a fan. I am one of millions of Rockies fans, but yet I believe that since I ate cereal instead of toast for breakfast (just an example), it will play an impact on whether the Rockies win or lose.
Which brings us back to the Chicago Cubs, and the mighty curse that has haunted the franchise for over a century. Many times, it would be considered absolutely insane to call a 100-win team any sort of underdog. Yet, it is so hard to even think about the Cubs winning the World Series. It’s like nothing we have ever seen before. The Cubs seem to have a flawless team. The likely 2016 National League MVP in Kris Bryant (but don’t sleep on Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado) leads an absolutely incredible lineup, including superstars Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler. Bryant and Fowler also make the Cubs one of the better defensive teams in the league. You cannot forget the insane pitching rotation lead by the 2015 Cy Young Award winner, Jake Arrieta. Finally, since adding Aroldis Chapman into their already solid bullpen, the Cubs just have no totally weak spot. Let’s not forget the great job Joe Maddon and the rest of the management has done this year. With this extremely good roster and great coaching, Chicago seems like they just have no weak spot. So if that’s the case, why do many, including me, say the curse will live on? Here’s why.
Reason #1: The Cubs are really good, but this is not the first time the city of Chicago has had hopes of winning a World Series. Over the past century, there have been multiple eras where the Cubs were in contention for multiple years in a row. However, whether it was a choke job, a fan’s interference, or just having the misfortune of playing against an all-time great team during the postseason, something always gets in the way. Superstition is one thing, but when failure is consistent for an entire century, it is simply not a guess and just fact.
Reason #2: The Boston Red Sox. Or basically just any playoff team in the MLB. The Red Sox are scorching hot, and Mookie Betts has a pretty solid chance at winning an MVP award as well as Kris Bryant (though my money would be on Houston Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve). The pickup of David Price was an incredible move. I’ll own up to it: I thought the Red Sox overpaid for Price’s services. However, Price has shown the consistency and greatness we’ve seen from him before. Hoping to send out David Ortiz in ultimate fashion, Boston will be well equipped and motivated as ever going into Big Papi’s final postseason. Even if they aren’t the team Chicago sees in the World Series (we could see an entirely different Championship than Chicago and Boston), the Cubs have a lot of other teams to worry about. Toronto may have the best offense in baseball, and Baltimore has a good pitching-hitting balance. San Fransisco has Madison Bumgarner, which makes them a problem and a team that could actually take out the Cubs in the NLDS. The Dodgers still have excellent pitching, despite losing Zach Greinke. Clayton Kershaw and company could be a lot for them to handle. The Mets shocked the MLB last year, being a major sleeper team. Why not repeat as NL champion again? Regardless, there are a lot of teams they have to handle, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of them take down the Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs are a good team, and I’m not going to say they have no chance. If they prove me wrong and win it all, it wouldn’t come as an absolute shock. It’s just too hard to plan on a team winning when the franchise has had so many different varieties of problems. Is this just crazy superstition? Am I insane? Am I voting with my heart and bad evidence? These are good questions, and here’s the answer to all of them: Heck. No.