Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Chicago Cubs, Steve Bartman and Scapegoats

Finally, the curse of the goat has been lifted! The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions for the first since since horse and cart were the mode of transportation back in 1908. That's an awfully long time in between championships, so much so that the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs don't even rank on the top 10 list of teams with lengthy championship droughts. Wow!

But just like the curse of the Bambino was lifted by the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs have endured the curse of the goat. During the Red Sox World Series in 1986, they had a scapegoat in first baseman, Bill Buckner, whose game 6 error enabled the New York Mets to win the game, before going on to win the next game and win the World Series. You can watch the game 6 clip here:

Even though the Red Sox blew the game 6 lead on a wild pitch to set up Buckner's error, or the fact that the Red Sox blew a 3 run lead in game 7 to lose the World Series, it was Buckner's error in game 6 that most bitter Red Sox fans lay blame to. From 1986 to the day the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, Bill Buckner was a hated man in Boston. After the Red Sox won the World Series to clear the curse of the Bambino, Red Sox fans came out with mantras of forgiving Bill Buckner. Yet, it should be Bill Buckner forgiving Red Sox fans, not vice versa.

Similarly in Chicago, a fan by the name of Steve Bartman became the scapegoat for the Chicago Cubs in 2003. I imagine Bartman cried harder than he had ever cried in his life when The Cubs won the World Series last night, out of pure relief. The peace of mind that Steve Bartman must have now is the stuff that magic is made of.

Imagine not even being a player, and having the entire city of Chicago hate you for what happened for being a fan foul territory going after a ball. Rather than explain it here, you can feel free to watch the clip if you don't know the story.

Bill Buckner did not cause The Red Sox to lose the World Series in 1986, yet he was blamed for it. Steve Bartman did not cause The Cubs to lose the game or NLCS against Florida, yet he was blamed for it.

And that's where I see the similarity in the shifting of energy. The projection of fear mongering and blame creates the scapegoat. Whether that's used like an unabashed demagogue like Donald Trump, or in the stories I've shared here, people seem to want someone to blame for their lot in life. It's easy to target a Buckner, or a Bartman and not look at any of the events before or after them to realize it wasn't the fatal moment people have made it out to be. In both cases, there were player errors, and game 7's that were squandered.

But if you live amongst bitter people who are looking to blame others in an attempt to not look deeper at the real cause or accountability, it looks like more of the same. When I see someone like Donald Trump running a campaign in a similar fashion by telling people who's to blame for their lot in life, rather than addressing the root cause issues, it's an easy pattern to spot.

The people who want a scapegoat do so because it's the easiest way to avoid accountability. Perhaps if we cease laying blame on unnecessary sources, we can be focused on what to do moving forward, instead of wasting energy on faulting others for the world not being the way we want it to be.

In the meantime, it's people like Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman who should be the ones to forgive others for how they've shamefully been treated. Now that both the Sox and the Cubs have won World Series, and lifted their respective curses, maybe the healing can begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.