Well, it’s really multiple curses. Audacy and Major League Baseball are teaming up to tell the story of the incredible postseason run of the 2016 Chicago Cubs. Hosts Matt Spiegel and Roy Wood Jr. take you game-by-game, controversy-by-controversy through the Cubs’ incredible World Series win, which went all the way to one of the most incredible Game 7s ever. “The Run: 2016 Chicago Cubs” will be joined by Cubs legends and legendary superfans, from Ryan Dempster, to Joe Maddon, to Katie Rich, the Chicago Party Aunt.
The golden folklore of baseball
That’s what Matt calls it. For 108 years, the Chicago Cubs went World Series-less. The longest dry streak in baseball, but that’s not saying they didn’t try! The culture of Cub-dom is rooted in losing. And within all that losing is a culture of curses. Whether or not you actually believe in ghosts, curses, witchcraft, all of that good stuff, it was difficult to not believe that the Cubs were cursed.
This first episode of “The Run: 2016 Chicago Cubs” is all about what Matt calls the golden folklore of baseball. Baseball players are notoriously superstitious, something you can find out here as well. But one needn’t look far for proof of a curse: in 1908, the Chicago Cubs were on top of the world. They were coming off of three straight World Series trips, winning two of those in a row when the infamous Merkle’s Boner (which, at the time, was just another word for mistake) cursed them.
It wasn’t as brutal of a curse as the 1945 one. Matt explains that the Cubs continued to be frequent faces at the World Series; they were just unable to win one. That’s when the real curse happened. William Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, was told he was not allowed in with his goat to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series between the Cubs and Detroit Tigers. It was far too smelly, he was told. And on that day, Sianis declared that the cubs would never win another National League Pennant and therefore never win another World Series.
A culture of losing
And he was right, for the remainder of his life, the Cubs could not win. Even with a team of All-Stars in 1984. Roy, a lifelong Cubs fan (which hasn’t been fun until recently), and Matt talk about this culture of losing and what it meant to Chicago. They ponder when the Chicago Cubs started to believe they were actually cursed. There were black cats, famous errors on field, and fan interruptions as the two hosts discuss the history of the Cubs.
Matt and Roy talk to incredible and prominent figures in the history of the Chicago Cubs. They talk about the losing culture, which happened for so long that it somehow made the team endearing. The lovable losers with an adorable bear logo. They talk with former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who ended up winning a World Series pennant with the 2013 Boston Red Sox. They even manage to get manager Joe Maddon on the line, who somehow made “Try not to suck” the rallying cry of Chicago.
“The Run: 2016 Chicago Cubs” is filled with all of the spitfire and energy that can only come from breaking a century long losing streak. It’s a look at the culture of Chicago, the culture of baseball, and just how much the 2016 Cubs meant to their city. It is truly one of baseball’s most magical stories, and it’s the perfect podcast for anyone looking to revisit the Cubs electrifying run through October.