The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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No joy in Cubsville

October 3, 2008 | 11:33 am

While everyone else was watching the vice presidential debates, I was watching my beloved Cubs play the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, wondering how many ground balls it was possible for one infield to fumble, drop, boot, muff, flub, mishandle, bobble and butcher in the course of one playoff game. It was ugly. I keep telling my 10-year-old Little Leaguer that as Cubs fans, we don't believe in curses. This is the modern world--we're not prisoners of pagan superstition.


But seeing the befuddled Cubs flail around last night, I confess that they had the look of a team imprisoned under a witch's spell. How else to explain how one of the best defensive infields in the majors suddenly took on the bumbling air of the hapless 1962 Mets, making four errors, two of them coming in the disastrous second inning when the Dodgers put the game away, ultimately winning 10-3. It didn't help matters when I immediately got an e-mail from a Hollywood executive, gloatingly referring to the origins of the curse (a fan with a billy goat was turned away from Wrigley during the 1945 World Series) by saying: "Baaaa! Baaaa! I hear the bay of the goat!"

As someone who sees all things through the prism of cinema, I always thought that this season, the 100th anniversary of the last time the Cubs went to the World Series, would be our equivalent of "Field of Dreams," our version of "Angels in the Outfield." But after last night, the Cubs looked like they were auditioning for a bad remake of "I Walked With a Zombie."

I've got another interview coming up with a die-hard Cubs fan from the entertainment world. But first I've got to talk myself off the 95th story of the Hancock Tower. I was so despondent last night that I couldn't even cheer up my son, who's been a Cub fan since birth--he had a Ron Santo jersey in his crib. I tried telling him that losing a couple of games at home wasn't the end of the world. Why look, I said, even the Angels, who were supposed to roll over the Red Sox, lost their first game at home. My son looked at me, exasperated. He saw through that ruse immediately.

"What does that have to do with anything?" he said. "We don't even care about the Angels!" 

Photo by Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times