Wrigley Field was a haunted house for the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets again played the ghoul. 

Murphy hit a home run for the fifth straight postseason game, and he scored another run as the Mets jumped out to a 3-0 NLCS lead over the Cubs on Tuesday night. A man who would not have been recognized by some casual baseball fans a couple of weeks ago is now generating headlines literally every time that he takes the field. The Los Angeles Dodgers couldn’t cool Murphy down. Now it’s the Cubs being terrorized by the new Mr. October of New York.

You may have heard about the “curse” that supposedly hovers over the Cubs. Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post wrote about it on October 19: 

And by now, you almost certainly know that on Oct. 6, 1945, with the Cubs leading the Tigers 2-1 after three games of the World Series, Bill Sianis bought two tickets for Game 4. The War was over, but travel restrictions were still in effect so after three games in Detroit the Series shifted to Chicago; the Cubs needed to only split those games to win their first championship since 1908.

There are various versions of what happened when Sianis showed up at Wrigley that day with his “guest” — Murphy the goat. The most popular one goes something like this: The ushers stopped Sianis, told him no animals were allowed in the park. Sianis appealed to P. K. Wrigley himself, who confirmed the decision: “Let Billy in,” the Cubs owner said. “But not the goat.”

Sianis, incensed, demanded an explanation. And Wrigley gave him one.

“Because the goat stinks,” he said.

No matter the version of the story, this part is not in dispute: Sianis told Wrigley, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.”

When the Tigers took three out of four to win the ’45 Series, a telegram arrived in the offices of P. K. Wrigley: “WHO STINKS NOW?”

That it is a man named Murphy who could have a role in the Cubs being swept right out of the NLCS has not been lost on social media. 


It is understandable that some fans of the Cubs and even members of the club are shocked following Game 3. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Murphy, who had all of 14 home runs during the regular season (h/t ESPN), was not supposed to become the most feared hitter in baseball. The renewal of the Cubs-Mets rivalry from decades ago presented, on paper, an ideal opportunity for the Cubs to end this “jinx” that has plagued Chicago since 1908.

What could have been a fairy-tale ending for long-suffering fans of the Cubs is quickly becoming a nightmare. The Cubs are not just on the brink of elimination via a sweep. To make what would now be an historic run to the World Series, the Cubs will have to defeat the following starting pitchers: Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom


Somewhat ironic in all of this is that the fanbase of the Mets is about as emotionally broken as are supporters of the Cubs. New York sports talk radio host Joe Benigno is but one tortured Mets fan. He theorized, during a segment that aired on WFAN on Tuesday afternoon, that it would be fitting for the Cubs to put an end to their World Series drought by coming back from being down 0-3 in the NLCS. That discussion sparked talk of when the Boston Red Sox completed their comeback against the New York Yankees during the 2004 ALCS. 

Cubs manager Joe Maddon knows his history. So does Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo. 

Members of the Cubs have to remain positive. The team’s season is, after all, not over. “One game at a time” may be a sports cliche, but it is one that is true for any series. The pressure is now on the Mets to close the Cubs out before things get interesting.

Chicago fans may not share that optimism. Could anybody blame them? “Unfortunately, their history is losing” is a line used to describe the relationship fans have with the Cubs in a wrap-up video for Game 3 of the NLCS. That says a lot, and it is a gut-punch to those fans.

His past play suggests that Murphy will soon return to form. That he hasn’t already is astonishing. Once that happens, it should theoretically have negative impacts on others in the lineup of the Mets. That domino effect could be just what the Cubs need to turn the NLCS around. 

Then again, one would think that a franchise could fall into a World Series championship at some point between 1908-2015. 

The Mets have looked like a runaway train in the NLCS. Harvey being nailed by a rocket-shot line drive early in the series didn’t slow the Mets. Neither did a lost ball in the ivy that cost the Mets at least an additional run in Game 3. Outside of having blind hope, Chicago fans have little reason to believe that the Mets will completely fall apart between now and Game 7. 

Perhaps it’s time to rename it the “Murphy Curse.” 

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