COMMENTARY | In case you have been living under a rock for the last century, I'll tell you that the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series title since 1908. I'll also tell you the Cubs' epic drought has little to do with a curse, rather, with the ballpark where they are playing: Wrigley Field.
A Little History
To the baseball world -- Cubs fans, in particular -- Wrigley Field is hallowed ground. Other than its charm and general longevity (which are two significant reasons, I admit), I have never really understood why Wrigley is so cherished by Cubs fans. Blasphemy, I know, but hear me out.
I love Wrigley Field as much as anyone, but it has been a disastrous history for the Cubs while playing there. And they have been at Wrigley since 1916. You can forget the "Curse of the Billy Goat," a Wrigley Field curse seems much more appropriate, especially when you consider that the whole fiasco with Billy Sianis and his goat didn't happen until the 1945 World Series (a full 29 World Series-less years into the Cubs' Wrigley Field tenure).
We love to celebrate history in baseball. In that regard, Wrigley Field is of the utmost importance. It is the second-oldest stadium in the league (Fenway Park) and has many defining features that make you wish that every stadium had as much character. But when you haven't won the World Series in over a century, "character" only goes so far.
Curse? What Curse?
The idea of an actual curse upon the team is pretty silly, too. Aside from a handful of truly heartbreaking (often spooky) scenarios (1969, 1984 and 2003 are the main-stage culprits), the Cubs have not won a World Series for a number of practical, non-curse-like reasons -- the least of which has often been incompetence at both the player and executive levels. But if we're being honest, Wrigley is a huge reason.
It is well-known that Wrigley Field plays entirely different depending on which direction the wind is blowing. If it blows in, Wrigley can be a pitcher's paradise. If it blows out, you might as well add about two runs to every participating pitcher's ERA that day. The wind shift is part of the undeniable charm and quirkiness of Wrigley Field. It is also a managerial nightmare.
The problem lies in the fact that the wind is an effect that entirely robs you of the talent you might actually have. Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright or any other ace can be shelled at Wrigley simply because the wind is gusting out to left. As a team passing through town, this isn't all bad -- a bad pitching team might come to town and have the wind blow in all weekend, effectively masking its weakness. But for a team that plays 81 games there like the Cubs, it can be a disaster because there is no law that says it will all balance out by season's end. You are leaving a very real factor in the game to chance. In baseball, this is one terrible idea.
One Potential Solution
I have always been curious why the Cubs don't build a speed-oriented roster if they insist on remaining at Wrigley. Speed is the one factor that the wind has no bearing on. By doing that, the Cubs would transfer the burden of the wind (and the chance factor) on to their opponent, which would give the Cubs a legitimate home-field advantage.
How tough have the Colorado Rockies been at Coors Field over the years because they stocked their lineup with power hitters to fit the conditions? From 2000-2012, the Rockies were 577-477 at Coors Field (the Cubs were just 542-511 in the same span at Wrigley). Of note, the Rockies were a sub-.500 team in nine of those seasons (the Cubs, seven).
This translates to the Rockies being fairly dominant at Coors Field, despite having played with the same advantage/disadvantage as their opponents -- the thin Colorado air, in this case -- and despite them sporting teams that weren't very good otherwise. The Cubs should be doing the same with the wind at Wrigley by building a team that is least affected by it -- ground-ball pitchers along with speed up and down the lineup.
I'm not saying that if the Cubs played at a more consistent stadium they would suddenly have armfuls of World Series titles, or even that they should leave Wrigley Field; I am saying that every team needs every advantage it can muster to win the World Series. Handicapping yourself right from the start can lead to, well, 100-plus years of championship drought.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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