Billy goats. Black cats. Bartman. The 2016 Chicago Cubs have eliminated those curses and jinxes when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in the National League Championship Series on Saturday night to advance to their first World Series since 1945.

Why is this so important? Why is this such a big deal? As a lifelong diehard crazy Cubs fan, I will tell you. Let me take you on a journey through the tortured past of the Cubs because for the first time in forever, it’s not as painful to look at these incidents.

See, most people associate the curses with winning the World Series. False. The curses and jinxes are associated with GOING to the World Series.

When the Cubs kicked out Sianis and his goat, Sianis swore the Cubs would never make the World Series again. The Cubs dropped the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers in seven games. The Billy Goat curse began….

In 1969, the Cubs had it all with Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, and Fergie Jenkins. But at Shea Stadium against the Mets, who were slowing climbing the ranks, a black cat got onto the field, encircled Santo on deck and then walked in front of the Cubs dugout.

Collapse. Utter collapse. The Cubs dropped in the standings, didn’t make the playoffs, and the Miracle Mets somehow won the World Series.

Then, in 1984, the Cubs made it to the playoffs and faced the San Diego Padres. The Cubs grabbed a 2-0 series lead, but once again…collapse. The Padres tied it 2-2, but in Game 5, the Cubs had the lead until the sixth inning. Their stellar first baseman Leon Durham made the most amateur error…letting a routine groundball go through his legs. He Bucknered before Buckner in the 1986 World Series! The Padres went to win the pennant.

The Cubs made the NLCS in 1989, but lost the series to the Giants 4-1. They almost won in Game 5, but once again….the pitchers gave up too many runs in the 8th inning. Cubs rallied in the 9th to make it 3-2, but Ryne Sandberg, yes RYNE SANDBERG, grounded out.

2003. Wow. This 2016 NLCS eerily mirrored that NLCS. The Cubs had a 3-2 series lead going into Game 6 at Wrigley Field. They entered the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead and then this happened.

It deflated the Cubs, led to errors and simple misses. The Marlins scored EIGHT runs that inning. They tied the series and won Game 7.

That game confirmed to fans that the Cubs are indeed cursed.

The Cubs made the NLCS in 2015, but the Mets swept them in four games. Cursed. Jinxed. Us fans almost accepted the reality we’d never see our team in the World Series.

But 2016 gave us hope. 103 wins. In first place from the first pitch of the season. Won the division by 17.5 games. However, going into Game 6 caused hesitation since the Cubs had to face Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers best pitcher. But from the start, the batters dominated him as Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks showed once again why he deserves the Cy Young. Home runs from Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras helped the Cubs win 5-0 and exorcise the demons out of Wrigley Field and the Cubs organization.

The pennant means as much to the Cubs world as a World Series win. The jokes and jabs we receive on a daily basis EVERY SINGLE YEAR, calling the Cubs the lovable losers. National broadcasts constantly reminding us what happened in the world the last time the Cubs won or went to the World Series because WE TOTES FORGOT ABOUT IT.

Not this year. Not this time. Now no one can talk about billy goats, black cats, or Bartman.

Yes, the Cubs still have to win four more games against the Cleveland Indians, but this pennant has eased our lives. It provided a breath of fresh air. The Cubs finally got over that hump. The Cubs are FINALLY in the World Series again.

Here’s the other thing. This isn’t a fluke or luck. The Cubs are young and talented. Rizzo is the oldest infielder at 27. Our farm system is still stacked despite giving up many to sign Aroldis Chapman at the trade deadline.

In 1991, the late great Harry Carey actually described the 2016 Cubs perfectly:


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