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2003 MLB Playoffs
Marlins and Curses and Fans - Oh My!
October 15, 2003
Watching the Chicago media cover the postgame after the Game 6 debacle, I almost forgot that Chicago fielded a team of ballplayers last night. CBS, NBC, ABC, and WGN would have you believe that a goat played first, Sam Sianis played second, and the goofy fan with the headphones was pitching. For those unfamiliar with the "Billy Goat Curse," the legend is not crystal clear because Sam Sianis' quote differs by the story, but this link gives a decent explanation.
Never mind that the Cubs had a 3 - 0 lead with only one Marlin on base when "The Fan" bobbled a ball in the stands which Moises Alou would have caught for out number two. Surely it is not Mark Prior's fault for tiring late in the game and allowing the Marlins to crush his pitches in the 8th inning. Don't fault Dusty Baker for making Kyle Farnsworth, a pitcher with frequent control problems, intentionally walk the bases loaded. Florida's consistent hitting throughout the lineup can't possibly be the reason for the EIGHT-RUN 8th inning. It can't be Alex Gonzalez's fault just because he made a costly error which would have led to the second out of the inning with the score still 3 - 1. Instead, in true Cubs fashion, we, the general public, must not place blame on the shortstop the team is paying millions for the purpose of making plays but rather on the poor fan who likely shelled out some serious dough for a great seat to see his team play.
Water cooler talk this morning echoes more of the same rhetoric, as Cubs fans try to justify the losing. Of course, most of the fans I talked to would NEVER reach out to catch the ball, even though EVERY SINGLE fan in the vicinity of the play was reaching for the ball. It's nice to know that I associate with people much smarter than those that have good seats to Cubs games. Somehow, the fans I am around know exactly how to react to a foul ball in a split second while the ball appears over their heads and the player is about nine feet beneath them. If only they were there.
In fact, I blame them. I blame every smart Cubs fan who watched the game at home. They should have spent the money and found a way to get the less intelligent fans away from the foul lines. The fans I know certainly would have cleared out the first two rows, giving Alou ample room for his over the wall catch. They certainly would have broken the "Billy Goat Curse." They certainly would have prevented Alex Gonzalez's error. And Prior and Farnsworth's shaky pitching. And the Marlins' timely hitting. But they didn't, and the Cubs lost. So don't blame "The Fan." Don't blame the curse. For heaven's sake, never blame the players. Blame the genius at the water cooler. After all, it's his fault.