Chicago Cubs Curse of the Billy Goat: Count Me Out

John SlaterContributor IMarch 14, 2011

Bartman's accomplice from the 2003 NLCS.
Bartman's accomplice from the 2003 NLCS.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

"These are the saddest of possible words: Tinker to Evers to Chance..."

These are the saddest of possible terms: My lifetime of anguish is done. From the iconic double play trio who last brought a championship to the north side of Chicago, to a triad more familiar to today's lexicon, the Chicago Cubs will torture me no longer.

Nothing in the world of sports has weighed on me more heavily over the past several years than the perennial punching bag of the National League Central. But, like the majority of fans of the most languid franchise in professional athletics, I embraced the delusion of hope. 

Spring training was a time of confidence, of new beginnings, of anticipation. April was a month of aspiration. All too often the month of May was spent waiting for bats to heat up in the lingering chill of America's Second City...

In another time a poem was penned exalting the achievements of the menacing Nine from the Midwest. The same reverence has not been displayed since.

Dunston to Sandburg to Grace try to evoke the same poetic meter—if not the same deference—but the three never brought a championship to the corner of Clark and Addison.

Recent "success" has renewed hope among the faithful, bringing with it a sense of achievement and promise—or, more accurately, accusatory persecution.

I have never been so ashamed to be a Cubs fan than I was during the 2003 NLCS when an innocuous foul ball landed in what could only be described as an inopportune locale.

As blame and disparagement fell down upon a diehard fan, whose only crime was obtaininga seat at Wrigley that most of us could only dream of, the only culpable party walked away with not so much as a second thought, but also $4.5 million.

Alex S. Gonzalez? Remember him? E-6? Inning over? Why do we remember Steve Bartman? I know. You can't assume a double play. So let's blame the headphones...

Need another reason to drop 'em? Steve Stone.

I understand that the Tribune Company was the guilty party, but the decision to drop the best analyst in the game for truthfully describing the ineptitude of the team was an unconscionable franchise gaffe.

Growing up watching WGN broadcasts, I took for granted the brilliance of Stone's color commentary. It was a privilege to hear him prognosticate exactly what pitch would induce that much-needed double play ball, or which defensive alignment would ensure it.

The Chicago Cubs were my team. I wished them to win, I wept when they lost. I loved the brown ivy in April, and the green thicket in June. I was captivated by Cey and Sandberg and Sosa, and inspired by Banks, Fergie and Santo.

I take nothing away from the actions of my heroes, only the inaction of their bosses. 

This team will anguish me no longer. I hereby denounce my ardent affiliation with the Chicago Cubs, denying myself all rights, responsibilities and privileges thereof.

Good luck to the faithful, I admire your patience.

"These are the saddest of possible words..."