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Saturday, December 2

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Cubs Wed Oct 01 2008

Cursing the Curse

This time, no talk of curses, OK? No dusky felines or horned farm animals or bespectacled young men sitting several rows back or haunted magazine covers. No hoodoo or voodoo or hexes or incantations or spells involving animal bodyparts and plants mashed into a poultice.

Oh, the media will try to goad you into talking about those things as if they were actual factors. They'll stick cameras in your face and a tape recorder under your nose and will get you to try to say that every Cubs' pitcher's ball four and every Derek Lee strikeout is part of some cosmic plan to keep the Cubs from winning the World Series. They'll do these things because people expect them and it saves them from doing any real work ("OK, people, story ideas for the Cubs series." "The curse?" "Great, good job, let's break for lunch."). They'll write books about and get famous celebrity Cub fans to talk about it. There'll be bad songs written about it by hack songwriters trying to capitalize on it. People will burn things or bury things or wear things or bless things. Nuns will be employed at some point, I believe.

But none of it matters. You're too smart for that. I mean, how can you watch Carlos Zambrano, Mark De Rosa, Jim Edmonds, Geovany Soto, Ted Lilly and Alfonso Soriano for an entire season, admire their genuine, physical talent, and then quickly switch to mystic mode and conclude that anything they do from here on out is 80 percent witchcraft or something like that?

Lou Pinella flirted with the idea of blaming things on imps or poltergeists or something. He arrived in town kicking curses out of his path, only to invent the phrase "Cubby occurance" to explain the little things that just seemed to happen to the Cubs. He's pulled back from that lately, but I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled it out of his holster before this series with the Dodgers is over.

Nope, Soriano didn't hit 29 home runs because of a rabbit's foot, Aramis Ramirez didn't knock in 111 RBI by making a wish on a fallen eyelash and Zambrano didn't toss a no-hitter by simply kissing a crucifix worn around his neck. Well, OK, maybe he did.

This team is too good to attribute anything they do (or fail to do) to luck. In fact, it's an insult. Leave the talisman in the dresser drawer, Cubs fans, and try to enjoy it.

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