What's the REAL reason the Cubs haven't won the World Series in so long?

Curse? I don’t believe it. Even if I WERE to believe it, the original curser allegedly lifted the curse long ago. Plus, the Cubs sucked long before the Billy Goat curse ever happened. And you can’t blame Wrigley Field either.

But seriously, what has kept the Cubs from not making it since 1908?? “They suck” is NOT an acceptable response, btw, because that doesn’t provide any real explanation; why is it that they make lineup changes, ownership changes, management changes, coaching changes, etc., and they still can’t seem to get by. And players who leave the Cubs find great success on other teams…

Really, what does it boil down to??

Ecclesiastes 9:11 poetically gives one possible reason. Like Kurtis Blow said, “These are the breaks.”

Poor drafts, bad trades/signings, and dumb luck.

They don’t like playing for the Cubs.

Seriously. When you consider all of the kids who play little league, traveling leagues, high school, college ball, AA, AAA ball use realize that every player who makes it to the majors is a damn fine ballplayer. Maybe not Hall of Fame material but they all have excptional talent and skill. Some can’t take the social pressure or hit 95 mph fastballs but it’s a 95 mph fastball. :eek:

Cubs players have gone on to other teams and have helped them win so it’s not the “individual” players. It’s the fact that they don’t play well as a team. You can blame the coach or the GM or the owners but if the players don’t gel as a team in a team sport, they don’t have a chance.

And the Cubs don’t have a chance.

Bring in motivational speakers or a hypnotist or tell them that they’ll never be traded until they win a championship. A team HAS to believe they will win.

Just came here to post a piece of trivia: the last Cubs World Series win is closer in time to the Battle of Trafalgar than it is to the present day.

As to why, I got nothin’.

The Cubs have a beautiful park in a beautiful neighborhood, and loyal fans who will flock to the games no matter how badly they suck. So where is the motivation to invest in higher-priced players, coaches, trainers, etc? Would there really be a return on the extra investment?

That has to be part of it.

I began reading this article with my eyes in roll-ready position. But underneath all the hyperbole there may be a valid point. The theory is that because Wrigley literally changes with the weather from a pitcher’s park to a hitter’s park, it’s impossible to tailor a team of players whose strengths are a general match for the ballpark like other teams do. Thus, the Cubs’ home-field advantage becomes less pronounced.

I’m not sure if this is enough of a factor by itself to keep them ringless for 104 years, but it’s food for thought.

Any theory of this kind would have to explain how the White Sox were able to win the Series in '05, despite their home field being roughly as far away from the lakefront as Wrigley is.

A fair point, but of course you have to go back to 1917 to find the last White Sox championship before '05. So it does seem as if the odds are still skewed against.

Besides, while I do find this theory intriguing, I’m not entirely sold on the weight of its significance. The Cubs won six pennants in the '10s, '20s, and '30s, so they managed to do pretty well at Wrigley for a while. It may be somewhat statistically odd that they didn’t win any World Series in that time, but you could attribute it to plain bad luck, or the dominance of the AL during that era (AL teams won 21 of 30 WS in those decades).

But I’d probably point to poor ownership as the major factor in the drought. Phil Wrigley inherited the team from his father in 1939 and was known for throwing nickels around like manhole covers. His tightwaddery essentially doomed the team to mediocrity or worse for the next 4 decades. He died, and the family sold to the Tribune Company, which essentially treated the Cubs as a corporate afterthought. They showed some improvement in the '80s, but the budget was still tight and management had no real direction.

Under the current ownership and management, it remains to be seen if things will change. Ricketts and Epstein seem to have the right philosophy and are starting to put some promising building blocks in place… but as John Hiatt said, it’s a Slow Turnin’.

A theory that I saw in the past was that while most of the rest of baseball went to night games, the Cubs continued playing all their home games in the hot afternoon summer sun, thus exhausting their players more than the other teams as the season wore on.

Yes, I know that they now have lights at Wrigley.

Other teams don’t seem to have any problem playing, and winning, under the same weather conditions.

It would be easy enough to look at the home records of various teams over the years and see it there is any truth to this…not that I am going to volunteer to do it.

Let’s add to that though, the last time the Boston Red Sox won a World Series prior to 2004 was 1918 (ending a run of 5 titles in from 1903 to 1918); the Cleveland Indians have not won the Series since 1948. Eight of the current teams in major league baseball have never won a World Series (two having made no appearance in the Series at all), so no telling how long their streaks will last.

The Cubs are notable for being the longest since a World Series win, but it was not all that long ago that you would have mentioned both the Cubs and Red Sox at the same time. Having the majority of their home games during the day may not help, but its not like they are playing in Texas. Direct causes are probably more to do with the poor ownership but still solid attendance. Although 20-30 years ago if the attendance had dropped because the team sucked, ownership would have looked to bulldoze the stadium or move the team somewhere else in Chicago or to another city altogether.

Beyond all other factors, I would guess that the Cubs Series drought is actually not all that statistically surprising. It is probably likely that somebody was going to go this long without a win, and the Cubs just happen to be that team.

The high number of day games is actually a factor in signing good players. It’s a disincentive for a lot of player to have to play so early in the day (they’d have to be at the park at 9a or 10a for a 1pm game.

Let’s look at some statistics. There are 30 major league teams right now (I know there weren’t quite so many in the past). If they were all equally good, on average, you would expect each team to win it all once every thirty years, on average. That is, the probability of winning it all in any given year would be 1/30 = 0.033333. So the probability of NOT winning in any given year is one minus that, or 0.9666666. Therefore, the probability of not winning for 100 years straight would be 0.9666666 raised to the 100th power, which comes out to: 0.0337, or slightly over 3%.

Not super likely, but not so remote as to require a curse or other tortured logic. And that’s for an AVERAGE team. A team that sucks already, er, that is, suffers from chronic poor management, has an even better chance of having a bad century.

(disclaimer: while I will claim some knowledge of math, my knowledge of sports is pitifully lacking, so there may well be some logical flaws in the above argument.)

Yes, management is a big factor. See, for example, the LA Clippers.

Except that the Cubs’ home field advantage has typically been above average, when they’ve been decent at least. IIRC.

[Checking those years where they were above .500, since we aren’t interested in this question when there’s no hope, starting with the 1967 club]

Year Home Road HFA LgHFA

_1967 49-34 38-40 +8.5 +12.0
_1968 47-34 37-44 +10 +1
*1969 49-32 43-38 +6 +6
_1970 46-34 38-44 +9 +4
_1971 44-37 39-42 +5 +4
_1972 46-31 39-39 +7.5 -1
*1984 51-29 45-36 +6.5 +4
*1989 48-33 45-36 +3 +7
_1993 43-38 41-40 +2 +5
*1998 51-31 39-42 +11.5 +8
_2001 48-33 40-41 +8 +4
_2003 44-37 44-37 +0 +9
_2004 45-37 44-36 +0 +4
_2007 44-37 41-40 +3 +6
*2008 55-26 42-38 +12.5 +9
_2009 46-34 37-44 +9.5 +6

Cubs HFA: +102 games, 6.4 per season
League avg. HFA: +88, 5.5

And I’ll note in those years when the Cubs were at or over 90 wins (* above), their average HFA was even larger.

I concede the point.
The article I linked quotes former team president Andy MacPhail offering up the idea, so I suppose that suggests just how deeply the “culture of losing” is rooted into the organization.

That last bit is nonsense. A good team will win everywhere (as in, HFA is overrated in the first place), and teams win championships all the time while not being “perfectly rounded.”

Wimps. Day games didn’t get Hack Wilson home from the night before any earlier–he still had a ballgame to play–and they didn’t keep him out of the HOF.