When the Cubs Came to Fenway


It wasn’t that long ago the MLB decided that a 30 team competition with 2 leagues and 6 conferences lends itself to 15 in each league and 5 in each conference. Previously there was a 4 team conference and a 6 team conference making automatic post season qualification by winning your conference markedly easier for some over others. Now that the laws of arithmetic and common sense are being applied we have the spectacle of interleague play as a regular feature of the schedule. This enables a reigning World Series champion from the National League to visit a great American League ballpark for an intriguing matchup.


The Cubs have just completed a 3 game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.  It was a chance for Chicagoans and Bostonians to trade stories about droughts and curses. Cubs fans have never been able to put their finger on the exact cause of their century plus pain of missed opportunities and a shot at glory. Sox fans of course had the Curse of the Bambino to explain their 86 year hiatus between being crowned masters of the universe. Since breaking the hoodoo in 2004 the Red Sox have gone onto win 2 more World Series and thereby give a new legion of fans (myself included) hopes for a dynasty of success. Whether the Cubs can follow suit remains a tantalising mystery at this point.


The Red Sox won this meeting of the ‘recently de-cursed’ with an extraordinary bookending of big innings. The 5 runs they scored in the bottom of the 1st in Game 1 and the 4 they scored bottom of the 8th in Game 3 gave them the 2 wins they needed. To be honest what happened in between was not particularly pretty nor awe inspiring for such an important series. In fact, the Cubs showed resilience and enterprise befitting their exalted current position and deserved better. For the Red Sox it was another case of grinding out a win any old way in what is becoming a feature of their season this year.


Alas there will not be a return bout this year at the other grande dame of ballparks, Wrigley Field. So we are left with the memory of a less-than-memorable showdown of two baseball behemoths deprived of success for most of the twentieth century now facing the new century with a fresh outlook. The red B cap is a cultural phenomenon around the globe while the blue C version is gaining in popularity in what may be a portent for the Cubs. After all, what can be more important than having a good news story and shifting some merchandise at the same time?



Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. Paul Young says

    Good work Brian, we must have some sort of kindred spirit, I’m too a Shinboner and Red Sox fan.

    I’ve followed Boston since watching the Romcom “The Perfect Catch” with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore about 10 years ago. I found that whole story around the curse of the bambino, fascinating and was drawn into the Red Sox phenomenon. My daughters have since been to the USA and always bring back another Red Sox T-shirt (that isn’t available in Australia) .

    I followed the Cubs/Red Sox games via twitter during the last week. Interesting series of games with the Red Sox clinching a 6-2 victory on Sunday.

    A trip to Fenway Park to belt out “Sweet Caroline” at the seventh innings stretch is on the bucket list.

  2. Mic Rees says

    The National & American leagues are broken into three divisions, not conferences.

    As far as causes for the 108 year drought go I’ll offer a few miscues – the horrendous decision to allow Greg Maddux to depart to Atlanta after his Cy Young efforts of ’92, odious trades such as Al Nipper & Calvin Schraldi for Lee Smith and a moribund farm system that didn’t deliver as often as you’d hope for – as a brief snapshot of why the losin’ went on for so long.

    Honesty, there just isn’t enough time to list all the shortcomings of the previous century. However if it’s curses you’re after I’ll see your Bambino and/or Buckner and raise you a Billy Goat (45), Black cat (69), Bull Durham’s glove (84) or Bartman (2003).

    Win or lose, moving merchandise has never been a problem. The fan base has been as rabid as any other MLB team since the rejuvenation of the team under Dallas Green in the early 80’s.


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