In September of 1969, the NL East division–leading Chicago Cubs were playing the New York Mets at Shea Stadium when a black cat bolted onto the field and ran past the Cubs’ dugout. The Cubs went on to lose the division lead and the Mets won the World Series. On eBay, you can buy a photo of the cat streaking past Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, signed by members of the team. If the Boston Globe, masters of merchandising that they are, had any sense, they would do the same with the pics they took of the grackle.
In the top of the ninth inning of the August 1 loss against the Indians, an injured black grackle appeared in the infield at Fenway and proceeded to skitter between second and third base. For several innings. The crowd chanted “bird! bird! bird!” and the PA played the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” The fans ate it up. After the game — the umpires and grounds crew having done nothing to rescue the flightless creature — so too did one of Fenway’s resident red-tail hawks. According to the Herald’s Jeff Horrigan, the feast left “only a pile of feathers on the empty field.”
Ever since that baleful bird visited Fenway, the Sox have been in a tailspin. Phoenix staff writer Mike Miliard noted in his Sox blog on August 10 that the team’s problems all came down to the appearance of the bird — a curse, if you will.
As of press time, the Sox are a woeful 6-14 since the grackle did his dance of death on the basepaths. And after last week’s catastrophic collapse against the Yankees, Miliard could now follow in the footsteps of Dan Shaughnessy and create a cottage industry of “Curse of the Grackle” books and merchandise, feasting on the team’s misery and raping the bones of the poor bird, much like Shaughnessy has done with the Babe over the years.
But he’s too much of a fan for that. And he doesn’t believe in curses.
: This Just In
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