Normally, we Chicagoans have to wait until October before we start hearing about goats in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs.
We all get reminded of the fact that Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, wasn’t allowed to take his tavern’s namesake goat into Wrigley Field for the 1945 World Series – for the mere reason that the Cubs considered the livestock to be a health hazard.
TO LISTEN TO Cubs fans (an irrational breed), the Cubs should have exposed their World Series fans to the animal. But because they followed common sense, they are now “cursed.”
I guess Cubs fans just can’t accept the fact that the reason their team hasn’t won a World Series in 101 years (or a National League championship in 64 years) is because they stink. They weren’t good enough. The other ball clubs were better.
Easier to bring up ridiculous talk about curses, which comes up whenever the Cubs manage somehow to finish the baseball season in first place and wind up in the National League playoffs. Somebody has to come up with THE reason that the Cubs can’t manage to win two rounds of playoffs for a league championship and a chance at a World Series victory.
But at least the goat nonsense was usually reserved for season’s end.
BUT NOW, CUBS fans seem determined to share their silly tales that they like to think of as team tradition by coming up with excuses to spew them year round.
It was Opening Day (although the heavy rains threatened the playing of baseball on Monday) at Wrigley Field, and team officials found a goat’s head hanging from the statue near Addison and Sheffield streets that shows longtime St. Louis and Chicago baseball broadcaster Harry Caray in all his glory.
Only instead of some clown putting a can of Budweiser brand beer in Harry’s outstretched hand, somebody dangled the goat’s head.
According to news reports, nobody believes that someone sacrificed a goat in order to sever its head and make some stupid point outside of Wrigley Field. Officials note the number of small grocery stores that cater to ethnic populations in Chicago. They say it most likely was purchased from a butcher who had no clue what the people buying it intended to do with it.
AT LEAST I hope there’s not some ethnic butcher who likes the thought of his product being dangled from the Caray statue at Wrigley Field.
But as police note, somebody pulled this exact same stunt back in 2007. So perhaps the real question is, “Why was there no goat’s head in ’08?”
The other question is, “Is this destined to become a new Chicago Cubs tradition,” along with that silly one of throwing balls back onto the playing field.
Are we going to have to endure yearly reports of goat heads being found in the vicinity of the ballpark on Opening Day, and a whole bunch of clucks somehow thinking that it is “cute” and enhances the lovability of the boys in baby blue who routinely get beat up upon by the nine missing children who were last seen by their mother near Wrigley Field.
WHAT ALWAYS STRUCK me as being most ridiculous about this “goat talk” in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs is that it really is nothing more than free advertising for the Billy Goat Tavern – which remains in existence and has expanded to multiple locations.
The old proprietor Billy Goat Sianis (nicknamed that because of his beard) is long gone, just like anybody else who actually remembers the days when the Chicago Cubs weren’t totally hopeless.
But his nephew, Sam, is more than willing to repeat the old stories about how his uncle put the hex on the Cubs as punishment for not letting the goat into the ballpark, even though Billy Sianis bought a ticket for him.
Then again, Sam Sianis has shown a willingness to do just about anything that will give his business free publicity. I still remember those advertisements the Illinois Lottery used to run that featured various people around Chicago, implying they played the lottery.
SAM SIANIS GOT his full-color picture on countless billboards and in magazines and newspapers because of that. And now, every time somebody tells the story of the goat and the Cubs, we get to hear once again about the activities of Oct. 6, 1945.
The Billy Goat Tavern gets free publicity. And once again, the Cubs give away some attention to somebody else’s business interest.
You’d think that if the Billy Goat were getting this much attention, the Cubs would insist on somehow being compensated for it. After all, it is a tavern getting advertising at the expense of the Cubs’ athletic reputation.
But then again, this is the team who lets their home stadium be named for a chewing gum company (don’t forget that the Wrigley family put their name on what was once Cubs Park to give their business – not their family – free publicity) without demanding compensation.
EDITOR’S NOTES: How much free publicity has the Billy Goat Tavern gained throughout the years (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1524080,w-dead-goat-wrigley-field-cubs-curse-041309.article) due to the tales of the Cubs’ goat hex?
Sam Sianis is in the same ranks (http://www.outdoorimpact.com/3cre_lott.html) as bluesman Buddy Guy, and athletes Jim McMahon and Mark Grace.