Can the Chicago Cubs finally break the 71-year-old billy goat curse?
The Cubs are going into baseball's 2016 post-season with uncomplicated swagger. There are two words there that don't usually apply to the baby bears of Chicago:
Yes, the Cubs are the odds-on favourite to win the World Series. They've dominated their opponents all year, they were the first to capture a post-season berth, and they're the only Major League franchise to surpass the 100-win plateau. And they seem ... relaxed?
You read that right. The Cubs are young and talented and confident. And as Tim Wiles, former director of research at the Baseball Hall of Fame says, this year's team is the real deal.
You read that right. The Cubs are young and talented and confident and as Tim Wiles, former director of research at the Baseball Hall of Fame says this year's team is the real deal.
There are a lot of people praying. I see a lot of people praying here.- Jorianne, The Coffee Psychic
"This 2016 team has the best shot of any team I've ever seen going into the postseason," he says. "Gosh, I don't know how many thousands of Cubs games I've seen."
We asked Wiles to walk us through one of the long-lived superstitions surrounding the Cubs, the curse of the billy goat, and how it's played out over the years.
We also wanted to know what's in store for the Cubs this year. For that, we went to Chicago's Jorianne the Coffee Psychic. Yes, she actually sees the future in a cup of coffee.
The curse of the billy goat
In 1945, when the Cubs made the World Series, they had a front-row season ticket-holder named Sam Sianis. Sianis had tickets for two seats — one for him and one for his pet goat, Murphy.
Together, they attended every game.
This was the dawn of the television era. There were only about 500 sets in America, but as a sign of the times, the World Series was going to be on television, so the Cubs organization told Sianis that he couldn't bring his goat into the stadium.
He was told that the goat wasn't projecting the image they wanted people to have of the beautiful Wrigley Field. The owners also told Sianis that the people objected to the smell of the goat. But of course, the same fans had tolerated the animal through every game of the regular season, so Sianis wasn't buying it.
Security guards kicked Sianis and his goat, Murphy, out of the ballpark. The tavern owner was furious and placed a curse on the Cubs, saying they would never win another World Series game until they apologized to him and his goat.
The Cubs lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers that year and they haven't been back since.
They've made efforts over the years to bring in other goats and descendants of Sianis. They've had all sorts of voodoo and joojoo and hex-breaking ceremonies. But nothing has worked.
"I'm not too worried about the curse right now because I think this year's team is too good and too young to care about it."
What's in store for baseball's lovable losers?
Jorianne, the Coffee Psychic, says that the Cubs have success ahead of them — but that it might not be the season finale they were hoping for.
"There are a lot of bubbles, but the bubbles are breaking up. That usually indicates good luck or good fortune, which will come true. Actually, it looks like they will do quite well," she says.
Jorianne uses a regular cup of coffee to see the future. Basically, she pours a mug and looks into the bubbles and the steam. When she pours the milk in, she can see pictures on top of the coffee.
"There are a lot of people praying. I see a lot of people praying here. I see people with the hands folded, praying that the Cubs will make it. ... Ugh. ... I'm not sure that they will make it though."
The coffee says the Cubs and their fans have a lot to be happy about but, maybe not as much as Cleveland.
"Do you know who they'll be playing?" Jorianne asks. "Because I see a picture of an Indian at the top of the cup and I'm seeing a big ring as well."
We'll have to wait a few weeks to see if she's right. But the Cleveland Indians did clinch their first American League Central title since 2007.
If you want to learn more about how Jorianne uses coffee to predict the future. Or if you want to book an appointment for yourself (or your team), check out her website.