Cremate the Curse: A Millennium Eulogy of “O” Time

By Brian A. Bernardoni

Read at “Cremating the Curse,” a wake for all Cubs curses, April 5, 2009.

Great success was expected from the Cubs of “O” time,
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight,

Despite knowledge of hitting and pitching not so great,
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

Certainly it would happen one of these times…
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

The field’s been redone, that’s no excuse;
For one hundred years we find new ways to lose.
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

We had Banks, we had Fergie, and for them it’s too late.
Instead we get “In Dusty We Trusty” and “Lou the Irate.”
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

The crowds were all there in the ivy-covered shrine,
Yet these teams we adored, they failed us each time.
Some teams were just average–not like Sandberg and Grace–
They dazzled, then sputtered and took us to last place.

This “abundance of talent” – my fist I do shake!
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

The teams that crushed us we commit to this urn;
The memories of fun; the money we burned
On headbands and t-shirts, on pennants and signs.
Some people thank God McPhail did resign;
The hopes that were dashed while the Trib took our cash.
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

We mourn with much passion and think of great times
And lament the fine players who played twixt the vines,
But blame is shared too: teams without the right stuff
Because of past owners who didn’t care quite enough.
Maybe new owners will make the team strive
And bring us a championship while I’m still alive.
They’ll make trades, and sign guys who will hit, bunt and steal,
Men who throw hard and play smart, with swagger and zeal.
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

But there’s more we commit to the “Tomb of No Hustle”–
It’s the teams led by Patterson, Foote, Sosa and Reuschel.
So today we also bury and forget the old teams of my youth,
Starting with the team P.K. gave us the year I earned my first tooth:

No more whining about the boys of nineteen sixty-nine.
Wrigley’s old rafters hear that all the time;
But let’s never forget and give Santo something he lacks:
His name in bronze on a Cooperstown Plaque.

And today we commit to the fires ‘eighty-four and ‘eighty-nine.
God, can’t we win it just one of these times?

And in that urn belongs ‘ninety-eight,
That wild-card team led by flailing Scott Servais.

With so many Cub heartbreaking stories this is barely a mention.
We’ll hear them all again at the annual Cub Convention.

Alas this doggerel is all I can share to honor these teams.
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight

“Don’t back no losers.” I never did;
Look at the records – over 10,000 wins!
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

But there were some good times as always in between,
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight,

When Barrett knocked out AJ, wasn’t that great?
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

These go with the sideshows we bury now soon,
Like the use of steroids, curses, and Steve Bartman, too,
“It’s Gonna Happen”; the October swoon,
Send us to Opening Day thoughts often too soon.

With all of that – these Cubs; they still let us down.
I wonder about Ronnie Woo-Woo, the Cubs’ unofficial chief clown.
Would a Cub pennant silence the woo,
Or will more playoff losses bury him too?

And lest we forget that dammed Greek goat,
And the south side fans who do nothing but gloat.
Let’s bury them too – enough is enough.
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

Oh, then there’s this, which ends all our missions,
It’s sportsdoms most quoted, time-tested, unwanted tradition.
It’s consumed all true Cub fans til their last dying day.
No more “Wait til Next Year”; let’s bury that phrase!

There’s no time for excuses, hoo-doo, curses or hex.
No omens, no black cat, God rest poor Rod Beck.
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

Is this “way out of left field?”  Is it too much to ask?
Why do we sign players not up to the task?
Is the pressure too great? Stigmata at hand?
Burning a hole in the glove of our grand master plan?

This talk of curses, where did it begin?
God, please just point me to the team’s original sin?
Alas, superstitions are silly, no basis in fact,
Or with the Devil did Murphy make an irrevocable pact?

Why did I support these teams of the past,
Knowing full well their win streaks won’t last?
Was it Brickhouse or Caray that made me aware?
Was it Kingman or Dawson – heck, I don’t care …
Sinatra’s song supported those “Cubbies” in a key verse;
Why can’t Tom Dreesen remove this damn curse?
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

As in all things, my time is now short.
For crimes against us, the Cubs can’t be acquitted in court.
The fans, you’re all here.  Don’t we deserve it somehow?
Or will these crimes be added to the rap sheet of O’Leary’s dead cow?
Oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

But the allure of a pennant and the scene of the crime,
Like some sirens call, it gets me each time.
She knows I’m addicted and can’t deny that white ball,
And knows I can’t rest til the Cubs win it all!

So on to Addison, so on to Clark.
“Let me here ya” the seventh-inning singers will bark.
This is the year, and the sun it will shine,
And all we can do is hope for a better two thousand and nine,
And finally I end now in this millennium age
And ask that we bury the ashes under the bleachers batters cage,
With Goodman and Grimm and unknown fans
From small town and big cities across this great land,
Who loved this great team with all its flaws
And know there’s a maker with a plan for us all.

For Ernie, for Gabby, for Billy and Jack,
For Harry, for Ryno, for Tinker, Evers and Chance.

And so this is my hope for the end of debate
Over the sadness and malaise of oh-three, oh-seven, oh-eight.

.

Posted 4/24/09


Published in Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs, Fans, History, Management, Pure doggerel | Link to this poem | 1 Comment

Cremate the Curse: A Millennium Eulogy of “O” Time: 1 Comment

  1. Brad wrote,

    Great poem! Let’s see the Cubbies break the trend, now!

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