From the curse of the Billy Goat in 1945 to the Steve Bartman incident in 2003, the Cubs have been cheated out of success for decades. But as the race to the playoffs begin to heat up this season, an unfamiliar sense of euphoria is growing amongst Chicagoans as their hometown heros hold the best record in baseball and a 9.5 game lead in the division.
While the rapid rise to MLB supremacy is encouraging, the Cubs have led their division many times over the years only to see their season cut short by defeat, so it’s difficult to imagine that this year will bring differing circumstances. But this year is special. This year the Cubs are fighting more than just their competition, they are fighting for a chance to transform history– a history crowded with agony and loss– by winning a World Series Title. This year (knock on wood), it seems as if destiny is on the side of the Cubs. Please allow me to explain.
The first blatant sign that the Cubs were the team of destiny came four days ago when the Cubs rallied back from a six run deficit against the Mariners to win 7-6 in twelve innings. Addison Russell scored the game tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth by stealing home after Steve Cishek’s wild pitch to the plate. Three innings later, John Lester laid down a bunt that sent Jason Heyward home, beating the Mariners catcher by only a matter of microseconds to score the game ending run.
The Cubs shouldn’t have won that game against Mariners, and if history had held consistent, they wouldn’t have. Down six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cubs had less than a 1% chance to win the game, yet they miraculously staged a comeback and stole the win.
But their luck continued. Just three days later, the Cubs staged another improbable comeback under similar circumstances. This time, the Cubs won off a wild pitch against the Marlins by executing a three run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Two comeback wins just three days apart is not a common occurrence. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I ever witnessed the Cubs accomplish that feat. That said, there must be some peripheral force leading the Northsiders to victory because teams typically don’t win the way the Cubs have. But the Cubs are the worst example of a typical team. No, this year they not only have skill, but they have the luck that baseball teams need.
For the first time since 1908, the Cubs are playing with destiny on their side, and while I have no statistics that prove my claim, history shows that the World Series winning teams are the ones that win with a bit of magic.
Ultimately there’s no certainty in baseball, that’s what makes the sport defy time, but in time this week will prove to be vital in the Cubs’ pursuit of a World Series.