October 20, 2016
On Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, the longest drought in professional sports came to an end as the Chicago Cubs finally debuted in the World Series for the first time since 1908. Pandemonium broke out in Wrigleyville on Saturday as the Cubs defeated the L.A. Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Fans flocked to the street to celebrate something historic — not only in the sense that the Cubs went 25,948 days without playing in the “Fall Classic,” but historic in the sense a team that has been label as “cursed” by many could finally put to rest the stories of Billy Sianis’s billy goat, the black cat and Steve Bartman to rest.
Through the years, Cubs fans and players have experienced agonizing defeat after agonizing defeat. In 2009, Thomas Ricketts — a lifelong Cubs fan himself and CEO of Incapital LLC — purchased the team to finally change the culture, to help his own pain and suffering of some sorts, after spending years watching his team from the Wrigley Field bleachers. Then came Theo Epstein, the man known for ending the other longest drought in professional sports as he helped lead the Boston Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2004. Epstein, who became the youngest general manager in the history of the MLB when he was hired in Boston at the age of 28, joined the Cubs in 2011 with the intention to end the curse. And then came the manager, Joe Maddon. Maddon signed with the Cubs after the 2014 season when he opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, a team he led to a World Series appearance in 2008. These three figures – Ricketts, Epstein and Maddon – joined forces to become a three-headed monster and a force to be reckoned with in the Nation League.
The curse has ended, the Cubs made it to the World Series and beloved fans have watched them fall behind 0-1 in the World Series. What happens if the Cubs win it all? What happens if the Cubs lose? How is the narrative of the storied Chicago Cubs going to change? For years, fans have used it as an excuse, believed it was all too good to be true, it couldn’t actually happen and that the team will find some way to mess it up. But now that they are here, will a piece of the fan base change? Only time will tell.