Sports column: Goat or scapegoat?

By Jon Gluskin

I’m waiting to hear it. I know it’s coming and I know it will be soon. I’m not sure how I’m going to react. I might laugh, I might smile or I might start screaming. That doesn’t matter though because “It’s the curse” is coming from Cubs fans.

What happened to the Cubs over the last 10 days of the season quite possibly made my year. For the second consecutive season, the Cubs managed to rip the hearts out of their fans.

It’s not like the Cubs had to play elite teams and just lost. Yes, the Cubs did have to conclude the season with three against the Braves, but against the Mets and Reds, the Cubbies went 2-5, blowing their season.

I’m going to say it right here, and I’m sorry if I’m ruining the secret for anybody: the Cubs’ collapse had nothing to do with a goat or Steve Bartman.

Something I’ve always wondered is how somebody associates a team without a World Series appearance since 1945 with a goat.

I’m a diehard White Sox fan and I’m not dumb. I know the Sox have performed equally as poor as the Cubs. Both franchises have flat-out stunk. But at the same time, how come there’s no Sox curse?

My answer is that curses are absurd and give teams an excuse for consistent losing, instead of taking the blame for their team’s shortcomings.

Why must it be a curse though? Why can’t it be poor decision-making, stupidity and lack of performance?

Was the goat the general manager when the team decided to not resign Greg Maddux after the 1992 season, letting him enter his prime and dominate with the Atlanta Braves?

Did the goat keep Mark Prior in too long in Game Six last year?

Take responsibility for your actions. What’s also funny is that numerous fortunate events have happened to the Cubs, but somehow the team is still said to be cursed.

Acquiring Aramis Ramirez from the feeble Pirates last year? That’s not cursed.

Getting all-star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra for essentially nothing? I wish the White Sox could be cursed like that.

The rebirth of the curse definitely occurred last year with Steve Bartman, and that’s when I really got annoyed with Cubs fans using it as an excuse for losing.

The guy did what any fan would do in the same situation, enough said.

It amazes me how the Cubs organization and fans forced a public apology from Bartman before running him out of the Chicago suburbs.

Meanwhile, Cubs ex-shortstop Alex Gonzalez muffed a routine ground ball that same inning, and nobody remembers that. Cub fans baffle me.

This year, the year the Cubs’ curse was supposed to be broken, it was apparently still in effect.

Sure, the Cubs had plenty of injuries this year. Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Sammy Sosa all missed significant time.

It happens.

Baseball is a sport and when you play sports, injuries are inevitable. If you go through the list of MLB teams, every team has had to deal with significant injuries throughout the season.

Please Cubs players and coaches, take responsibility for your choke this season.

Dusty, you’re the most overrated manager in the game of baseball. And finally people are realizing it.

Sammy, you’re lucky your teammates don’t berate you every time you hit a ball that dies at the warning track while you’re hopping like a bunny rabbit.

Moises, stop peeing on your hands and work on not getting picked off the base lines.

Carlos and Kerry, you guys are tremendous pitchers, but until you learn to control your emotions, you aren’t going to win anything.

Latroy, you’re just awful.

So Cub fans, I know you love to say “wait ’til next year,” so do that. And get over the collapse. Your Cubbies are stocked with talent, but they just blew it.

And it had nothing to do with a goat.

Jon Gluskin is a junior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]