Reversing the curse: UI sophomore looks to lift Cubs curse with pet goat


Photo Courtesy of Annabeth Carlson

Littleton the Goat munches on some grass on the Quad.

By Annabeth Carlson, Staff writer

Littleton the Goat is one busy animal.

He divides his time between a farm in Door County, Wisconsin, where he grazes with his goat brother Waller, and the University campus, where he takes walks on the Main Quad and even shows up to Joe’s Brewery.

But perhaps Littleton’s most important job is reversing the Chicago Cubs’ Curse of the Billy Goat.

For those unfamiliar with the curse, in 1945, Chicago-based Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game at Wrigley Field because his pet goat’s smell was upsetting other fans. He was so angry that he cursed the Cubs, saying, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” meaning they would never win another World Series at Wrigley Field.

In light of the Chicago Cubs getting as far as the NLCS this past season, many Chicagoans and University students are attributing Littleton the Goat with the team’s successes. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.

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    Since Evan Marinis, sophomore in DGS, purchased Littleton last year, the team has experienced rapid success, especially with new manager Joe Maddon and star pitcher Jake Arietta. And Littleton’s been there to see it all, as Marinis said the pair often spends game day outside the ballpark.

    Littleton’s luck continued through the playoffs. When the Cubs were playing the Cardinals during the playoffs, Marinis and Littleton were supporting the team outside Wrigley. At one game, he said the Cubs were down by one, so he considered leaving in case anyone got mad, but while there, the team scored all six runs to win the game.

    Originally, Marinis said he went on Craigslist to buy a puppy, and when he searched the site, dwarf pygmy goats fell under the same category. Marinis, who attended Mizzou last year, bought Littleton and moved him into his fraternity house. It was not a surprising decision for Marinis to buy a goat because his family is close friends with the family of the Billy Goat curse-giver himself, Billy Sianis.

    Marinis said his grandfather came to the U.S. from Greece and started working with Sianis at the Billy Goat Tavern, where he stayed for half a lifetime.

    “My grandfather actually helped make their slogan famous. The reason it’s with an accent, ‘Cheezborger, Cheezborger’ is because of my grandpa, because he couldn’t speak good English,” Marinis explained.

    Marinis said Littleton’s popularity immediately took off at Mizzou. His social media accounts blew up (the goat’s Instagram has over 2,000 followers), and sorority girls came in droves to see him. But Marinis said things really took off when he brought Littleton to Wrigley Field for the first time and news crews from Sportscenter and CBS Chicago took interest, bringing the “reverse the curse” hype.

    Now, Littleton even has his own website with merchandise like beer koozies and t-shirts with his face on them.

    Just like at Mizzou, Marinis said Littleton has already gained fame on campus. On Tuesday, he was featured on the Illinois Snap Story.

    “We were walking him and the bus literally stopped, and the driver asks us if it was a goat, and she made us stay right there when she was taking pictures. We (also) took him to the Quad and some teacher told us to wait right there, and she got all of her colleagues and everybody out to see him,” he said.

    Marinis said there are no challenges with taking care of a goat at college. They go on walks, and he tries to give him goat feed even though Littleton prefers to graze on any grass and leaves in sight.

    “He’s better than a dog. He doesn’t jump around, he’s really chill, like he wants to be near people at all times, and he wants to sit on your lap, and that’s it,” Marinis said. “He just eats everything and does his own thing.”

    Marinis currently lives in a house near his fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. He brings Littleton over to visit his fraternity brothers, like Danny Jordan, sophomore in DGS, and Tim Park, sophomore in LAS.

    Jordan said Littleton is very sociable and has his own personality.

    Park agreed, explaining that once you get over the initial shock factor that he is a goat, it’s like living with a dog.

    “Yesterday I was just doing my homework, sitting on the couch in our room and he was just sitting, curled up right next to me,” Park said. “He’s really well-mannered and doesn’t bark or anything like that. It’s actually really fun.”

    Park said he definitely believes Littleton will reverse the curse for the Cubs. He attributed Littleton’s influence to the character Stanley Yelnats in the book “Holes,” because the only person that could break the curse in the book was someone who was related to the person that set the original curse.

    “The Cubs are really good, we have really good players obviously, a good new manager and everything, but at the same time, (Marinis) is really close family friends with the family that owned the … original billy goat that cursed them so I think that this is just the last piece of the puzzle they needed,” Park said.

    Though the Cubs season ended during the NLCS, only time will tell if Littleton will truly reverse the curse. But if he does, Marinis predicts great things for the goat.

    “If they end up winning it all, Littleton could be potentially extremely famous and a face of the Cubs,” he said. “It’s crazy it all started with buying a pet goat to what it is today.”

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