First of all, thanks so much to Will Leitch for linking to us and thanks to everybody (all 1,831 of you!) who have visited us today. If even a few of you found us funny enough in what is still very early days (seriously, this is only day three) to stick around and watch us grow...well, I'm honored, and I thank you. But either way, I've got an article to rip apart that is all about the stupidest concept in all of sports: curses. Sportsline's Ray Ratto?
Don't go all Bartman or Billy Goat on poor Dempster
I totally agree with this. Unfortunately, when your headshot is this...
I'm just not sure I can take anything you say seriously. So I'm going to have to dive deeper before deciding if your reasoning passes muster, Ratto. I'm sure you understand.
This isn't going to be just Ryan Dempster's fault. We have to see to that. Just because he says the Cubs are going to commemorate their 100th year without a World Series championship by having to start a new streak in 2009 doesn't mean he should be throttled when it doesn't happen.
He probably will be, of course, but it doesn't make it right.
Wait, Ray, I want to get this straight. It's not okay to strangle sports figures? My god, my entire world has been turned upside down (Bob Ryan's too). Seriously Ray, it's not even okay to kill Ryan Dempster? I mean, he had a 99 ERA+ last year! That's almost precisely average! How can I not feel bloodlust towards such a man?
Ray Ratto: bold stances ("strangling is bad!"), strong opinions ("it's not right!") since 1982.
(Note: I have no idea if Ray has been writing since 1982. I am willing to look up the patron saint of genital warts but not, for some reason, when Ray Ratto started writing. Draw your own conclusions.)
Dempster understands that the Cubs' entire marketing plan is based on the team's historical failures, a remarkable feat akin to Belgium commemorating its record in world wars.
Belgium in World War 1: member of the Allies for the duration of hostilities
Belgium in World War 2: member of the Allies from May 10, 1940 to the war's end
Belgium's record in World Wars: 2-0 (Just like the Marlins in the World Series! Actually I totally remember when Belgium had to get rid of Miguel Cabrera to save money. And by "Miguel Cabrera," I think I mean "the Congo.")
Ray, if you're looking for the lovable loser of the World Wars...well, Germany is the loser of the World Wars. There really isn't a loveable loser of the World Wars. I'd say it's Italy, but they switched sides in World War I, which I think makes them the Red Sox. Anyway, it's definitely not Belgium. Belgium is the Marlins. After all, who doesn't remember when in Game Six of the European Theater Championship Series, when that random fan (I think it was Portugal) got in the way of Rommel when he was trying to make that catch, and then Hermann Goring made that key error later in the inning, and before you know it Belgium came roaring back with six runs to blow the game wide open?
He also understands that this feeling is four generations deep, and that predicting a World Series in year 99 or year 101 doesn't have the same goofy charm.
Ray might have a point here, but I'm pretty sure people would have found Dempster's prediction a little silly whether it was made this year or last year. If anything, it might have been more ridiculous last year, because the Cubs had just spent tons of money kind of foolishly. And by that, I mean they gave money to Jason Marquis. You know, to pitch. Just because he was merely below average instead of the biggest disaster ever doesn't change the fact that the 2007 season was one huge question mark. Frankly, it still is.
Also, the Diamondbacks are totally Czechoslovakia. Think about it.
In fact, manager Lou Piniella, who is responsible for one percent of the legacy, has already talked to his players about how to deal with all the questions about the Cubs' century.
Let me guess. "We don't let it bother us." "We just have to focus on the next game." "That's more something the fans worry about." You know...like almost any answer given by almost any player ever. And I do mean ever. I'm pretty much certain Coroebus of Elis just talked about taking the race one naked step at a time or some shit like that. Of course, he probably said it in Greek, as was the style of the time.
Breaking news: Luxembourg has announced that they are, in fact, the Kansas City Royals, in the sense that both have very little chance of winning the AL Central anytime soon.
We can assume he didn't already send Dempster out as a scouting party of one to see how many enemy snipers were up in the trees. That seems like an odd way to soft-pedal an anniversary party.
What an incredible way to fill column inches...come up with a stupid conspiracy theory that no one other than you has even thought of, and then debunk said theory. At least I'm not going around claiming Denmark isn't the San Francisco Giants (King Christian X was a total juicer with balky knees and I'm also pretty sure he was succeeded by Aaron Rowand).
The rest of the article makes some pretty tired points like "Cubs fans don't really want to win" and "Indians fans have it way worse!" I would refute these, but I don't think they really count as, you know, arguments. They're just sorta weird unfalsifiable things that help nobody (just like the various interpretations of quantum mechanics - and as I'm sure Ray Ratto would point out, the hidden variable theory is total bullshit). Also, the longer I go on, the greater the danger of falling into the trap of irritating homerism. So I will hopefully sidestep becoming an insufferable homer when my real points are...
1. There's no curse around the Cubs
2. Inventing a curse is shitty journalism (see Shaughnessy, Dan)
3. Writing an entire article around the curse when you don't even think it's really is even shitter journalism because you don't even have a story
4. If you're a sportswriter, actually having a story is something I consider a common courtesy
5. Geovany Soto should be unanimous ROY!!! WHOO!!!
Aw, shit. Too late.