The World Series for 2016 has turned out to be a matchup between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. Both teams are charter members of their respective leagues, meaning they’re both over a century old.
BOTH HAVE ONLY two World Series victories in their histories (1920 and 1948 for Cleveland, as opposed to 1907 and 1908 for the Cubs). Both have old fans who have never seen their team win the whole thing, and have endured decades of horrendous baseball in the process.
|... will prevail?|
Meaning anybody who’s going into this week thinking that the Cubs just have to come out ahead is seriously misguided. It would be just as much of a moral victory for baseball if this were the year of the Indians.
Heck, one could argue that with the way the Cubs created an allegedly lovable image that makes some people think ivy-covered walls is what baseball is all about and that winning is secondary, the team hasn't suffered at all.
They never played home games in the “Mistake on the Lake,” as in the Lake Erie-based stadium of some 76,000 seats that could look absolutely desolate when only 6,000 or so were showing up to see the Indians contend for last place in their division throughout the years. The less said about “Dime Beer Night,” the better.
|Which team will these two spirits...|
ONE ALSO HAS to admit that the Curse of the Goat that Cubs fans also cite as the source of their losing teams has a contender in the Curse of Rocky Colavito – Rocky being the slugging ballplayer of the 1950s whom the Indians traded away to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn.
It was supposed to be a home run hitter for a potential batting average champion. Rocky went to Detroit and played respectably, while Kuenn never played as well for Cleveland.
By the time the Indians reacquired Colavito in a trade in the mid-1960s, they had to give up a ton of young talent to do so. And by then, Rocky just wasn’t the same ballplayer himself.
|...be rooting for this week?|
IT MAKES ME wonder how many cemeteries across northern Ohio are going to wind up with Indians pennants on the gravesites of now-deceased fans who never got to see their team win the whole thing?
Or is that sight destined to occur across the north side of Chicago. Because among those who are tied spiritually to the South Side, there will be those rooting for an Indians victory. I’m not kidding – I’ve talked to enough of them to know Cubdom doesn’t unite the city, no matter how much Cubs fans want to think the whole world is rooting for their ultimate victory.
|Is having to play ballgames here enough reason ...|
And let’s not forget Bill Veeck, who owned that Indians team. It was his first major league team he ran outright, after having worked while a kid for the Cubs when his father was team president who helped put together the teams that won National League championships every three years throughout the 1930s.
YET EVEN THOSE teams always fell short come October. The Yankees of Babe Ruth, then Joe DiMaggio, and the Detroit Tigers were the teams that came out on top. While Cleveland has to live down the shame of being the team that let a second-rate wildcard like the ’97 Florida Marlins beat it in the World Series.
|... to be entitled to break a 'curse?'|
So before North Siders get too cocky, keep in mind that it could easily be you come a week from now who will be agonizing aloud, “Why God? When will it FINALLY be our turn to win!”