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Posted: Friday May 20, 2005 11:09AM; Updated: Friday May 20, 2005 3:39PM
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Head2Head
Whose curse is worse?
Read both sides, then see what you had to say. Also, make sure to check out A Curse for Every Team (Except the Red Sox)
Cubs
Wrigley Field.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By Maggie Haskins

With the curse of the Bambino finally laid to rest, only one true baseball curse remains, the Curse of the Billy Goat. Now, it might seem strange that a Cubs fan desires to be recognized as the most pathetic team in organized sports, much less baseball, but when history and the baseball gods seem to conspire against you, it's nice to be first in something.

Yet, all of the sudden there is a ruckus on the South Side. It appears that the once-forgotten White Sox are now trying to steal some of the attention away from the Cubs, claiming they are far more cursed. Ha! I laugh in the faces of White Sox fans. For one, being the most cursed team inherently means others grant you a certain amount of sympathy.

Friend: Hey, what's wrong?
Me: Oh nothing, I'm just a Cubs fan.
Friend: Oh, I'm sorry. Let me buy you a beer.

The White Sox should never get free beer. Why? Because in 1919 they threw the World Series. I don't care that it was 86 years ago. Any team that throws a World Series receives no sympathy from me, and any claim to being the most cursed team is thrown out the window. You throw a World Series, you deserve to play in a cement box next to the Dan Ryan expressway. You deserve to be ignored by the local media and shunned by most of its fans.

Cubs fans were cursed by a billy goat. In 1945 we didn't let a billy goat enter the stadium because it smelled and Mr. William Sianis has made us pay ever since. Our curse is worse because it was out of our control. Can you imagine having to sit next to a billy goat at a game? Do you know how hard it would be to get the billy goat to pass you your hot dog from the vendor? How could the ushers have known not letting the goat in would mean not playing in a World Series for 60 years?

Some argue that because we are "lovable losers" and embrace our team even though they stink (last year was the first time the Cubs put together back-to-back winning season since 1971-1972), how can we be more cursed? Ever heard of denial? Wrigley Field is gorgeous and a great afternoon activity with your buddies but Cubs fans sustain a ballgame only by soaking in the sun and downing Old Style. For many years, we blocked out the pain. We made jokes and laugh about our misery, but inside we cried. Sure, we gave the 1998 wild-card team a standing ovation when they got swept out of the first round of the playoffs. We were happy to be there but that appreciation doesn't mean we are less cursed. Just because no one goes to U.S. Cellular Field (what a name!) doesn't mean the White Sox are more cursed, it means they don't have loyal fans.

Of course, 2003 changed Cubs fans' outlooks. After the travesty of Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS we took comfort in the fact that our pitching would only improve. Well, it turns our best player was corking his bat and none of our pitchers can stay healthy. Mark Prior, the boy with the giant calves, hurt his Achilles. Carlos Zambrano has tennis elbow, and Kerry Wood is injured all the time because of his "violent" mechanics. If other teams amassed this kind of pitching staff they would be seven games up, not seven games back.

If you were to sit near me at work you couldn't call me a lovable loser. Last week when the Cubs played the Mets, I'm pretty sure the entire office heard me yell at the TV (sorry everybody!). I hate you LaTroy Hawkins! I hate you!

I could go on for days explaining why the Cubs are more cursed than the White Sox. The White Sox are just mediocre, and frankly where was all this talk of a Curse of the Black Sox before?

Anyway, if you believe nothing else, then believe the numbers. The White Sox last played in the World Series in 1959, fourteen years after the Cubs' last Fall Classic appearance. The White Sox last won it all in 1917, the Cubs in 1908. Numbers don't lie.

It's beyond a doubt the Cubs are more cursed, and yes, I take pride in that, because I can't take pride in a World Series ring.

White Sox
U.S. Cellular Field
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By Aimee Crawford

What the hex is going on? Now that Boston has banished the Bambino, we keep hearing that the Cubs are the reigning kings of the curse. Billy goats, black cats, Steve Bartman ... blah, blah, blah.

If you're looking for sheer ineptitude, sure. The Cubs have 97 years of it on their side. But if your criteria is true torment, take a look at what's been happening -- or, better yet, not happening -- for the past 88 years on the South Side of Chicago.

The Pox on the Sox is as epic as the Cubs' -- all the more so because the Pale Hose have been just good enough to tease us every generation or so. They've finished second seven of the past 10 years, and their winning percentage over the past 25 years is .511. Yet they have but two postseason victories since World War I; even the French have won more often than that. The White Sox haven't reached the World Series since 1959 -- and haven't won a championship since 1917. We all know what happened two years after that. Eight Sox players threw the Series to Cincinnati. The fix was in, and we've been paying for it ever since.

So why has our team's curse flown almost completely under the radar -- even in our own city? Perhaps it's because, unlike our neighbors to the North, we've never turned our losing streak into some sort of endearing attribute. The ChiSox curse doesn't have a cute name, and we haven't gone about marketing our misfortune. Twins fans don't taunt us with "1917!" chants. Our team doesn't have cute beer garden in a trendy neighborhood. It doesn't have a superstation behind it. And it's not owned by the hometown newspaper.

Winning has never mattered much to our neighbors up north. The Cubs haven't uncorked any champagne because their stars are too busy corking their bats. Fans flock to Wrigley Field no matter how pathetic the product on the field. The Bleacher Bums are simply there for the sun, the seventh-inning stretch singalong and that silly ivy.

To White Sox fans, there's nothing lovable about losing. It's not that we're disloyal; we simply demand a winner. The upper deck at Comiskey ... er, U.S. Cellular Field ... hasn't always been as empty as Leon Durham's glove in Game 5 of the '84 NLCS. Give us a scrappy, blue-collar squad we can get behind -- the Go-Go Sox of the '50s, the SouthSide Hitmen, the Winning Ugly Crew of '83, and, here's hoping, this season's surprising crew -- and we'll show up. We're still smarting about the almost-certain World Series our first-place Sox were cheated out of when the strike canceled the '94 season. So forgive us if we're always waiting for the other sock to drop. But don't think for a second we aren't following our team closely.

See, we South Side fans are salt-of-the-earth. We don't have much use for spotlight-seeking celebrities -- Bill Murray, Jim Belushi and George Will, I'm talking to you -- on our bandwagon. When's the last time you saw the White Sox mentioned on Letterman or Leno? Yeah, we have a bit of an inferiority complex. Wouldn't you if your team was known mainly for exploding scoreboards, a disco promotion gone awry and sartorial stumbles? (Among the White Sox's 57 uniform changes are shorts, butterfly collars and pajamas.) Our franchise's best player, Shoeless Joe Jackson, is still barred from the Hall of Fame for his alleged part in the Black Sox scandal. One of our greatest pitchers, Billy Pierce, has inexplicably been overlooked by the Hall. And our team's most recent inductee, Carlton Fisk, went in sporting the wrong Sox on his plaque. We even have our own Bucky Dent (Tito Landrum) and Bill Buckner (Jerry Dybzinski).

So, yeah, the Sox are still the most cursed team in baseball. But this year we Chicagoans have hope. We know Ozzie Guillen and Co. won't be throwing anything besides a few profanity-laced tirades and the occasional clubhouse television.

"[Boston's victory] made me feel like, 'Wow, it's time for us to turn around and do it,'" Guillen said before the start of the season.

Say it's so, Oz. Say it's so.

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