Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in the deciding seventh game of the World Series of baseball, an odd title for a contest in which the existence of only one Canadian team prevents the entire season from being an all-American affair. There had been hopes that the local baseball team would add to the national championship already won earlier in the year by the Cavaliers basketball team. In that case, Cleveland had fought back from a 3-1 deficit to win the last three games and the series but this time it was the reverse and the Indians blew a 3-1 lead. I think the reason is the Curse of Wahoo.
I am not a baseball fan and have made no secret of my distaste for the ghastly symbol of Chief Wahoo that the team is identified with. At one point in the recent past, the team seemed to be downplaying it and making it less prominent. But this year in the playoffs it was back with a vengeance, with the grotesque grinning red caricature prominently displayed on players’ caps and sleeves. Whenever I turned the TV on to get the score, I found the ubiquitous image so distasteful that I quickly turned it off again.
The baseball commissioner had said that he would be speaking to team owners about the Wahoo logo after the series ended but I do not expect anything to come of it. Many Indians fans seemed to have a deep attachment to what I see as a racist symbol, something that we should not be surprised about in a state that seems to have quite a liking for Donald Trump and his racist politics. The owners of the team will likely want to preserve their cash cow and not get rid of a symbol that so many fans seem to like and that adorns much of the merchandize sold. Professional sports franchises are, after all, primarily businesses.
So Wahoo will likely remain and the Curse of Wahoo will continue to haunt the team.
Of course, I do not believe in such silly superstitions. Jonathan Swift said, “You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place” so perhaps the converse is true and irrationality needs to combated with irrationality. Many players and fans are deeply superstitious and I am doing my bit to exploit that irrationality to undermine their irrational attachment to Wahoo by suggesting that a curse is associated with it.
Do your bit. Pass it along.