The Chicago Cubs found a severed goat's head at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, and they're treating the cruel reference to a longtime curse as a crime.
Chicago police were called in to investigate after a man stopped the white van he was driving, walked a box to a security entrance on Waveland Avenue and wordlessly put it down, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.
Security workers opened the box, addressed to team owner Tom Ricketts, and discovered the severed head. The team immediately called police.
Green said Thursday that police were given surveillance video, and that he doesn't know why someone would deliver a goat's head. Police did not comment on who might have left the goat head or a possible motive — other than to refer to the head in a brief statement as an "intimidating package."
'Very original since it's only been around for 60, 70 years. You'd think they'd come up with something different.' —Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija
Cubs manager Dale Sveum had a theory, of sorts.
"Obviously, it's just an unfortunate fan doing something pretty stupid," he said.
The significance of the goat, however, isn't lost on many. In 1945, a tavern owner named William "Billy Goat" Sianis tried to bring a goat to a World Series game, but was told his goat — which had a ticket — smelled too much to be admitted. Sianis angrily put a curse on the team and since then, the Cubs haven't been back to the World Series.
Fans have had little to cheer on the field in recent years, as the Cubs lost more than 100 games last year and are off to a rocky start this season. As for Ricketts, he's been negotiating a $300 million renovation of the stadium, built almost a century ago, with the city and neighbourhood businesses. Police have not said whether the head is believed to be linked to those negotiations — or anything else.
Cubs players, however, weren't intimidated by the gesture.
"That's probably just an upset fan or a fan of another team," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said before the Cubs played the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. "My opinion it's just dumb, but it is what it is."
Pitcher Jeff Samardzija was disappointed with the lack of creativity.
"Very original since it's only been around for 60, 70 years," pitcher Jeff Samardzija said. "You'd think they'd come up with something different."
As for Green, he doesn't want anything to do with another goat.
"We've got one too many goat legends," he said. "We don't need another one."