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Favorite Teams Struggling? Maybe They're Cursed02:45
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The saddest, games-playing casualties of the curse of Halloween or its proximity?

That's easy: the baseball team and the soccer team that play in Kansas City.

Mere days before that most dark and dreadful of nights, trailing by a run, the Royals left Alex Gordon at third base in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series. Perhaps his shadow is still moaning across the lawn of the empty ballpark for a base hit.

One of my favorites is the Curse of Biddy Early, a 19th-century healer alleged to be a witch. She disliked two Irish hurling teams and is said to have doomed their efforts for many years.

Bill Littlefield

Then on Halloween Eve, Sporting K.C., the defending MLS champion, watched what had looked earlier like a win collapse into a nightmare loss in the 90th minute of their game against New York, and K.C's post-season went dark as a jack-o-lantern at midnight when the candle sputters out.

Who could blame sports fans in Kansas City for beginning to wish this had been a bye week for the Chiefs, even though their Sunday game would match them against the 1-7 Jets?

The phenomenon of allegedly cursed teams isn't limited to this time of the year, of course.

One of my favorites is the Curse of Biddy Early, a 19th-century healer alleged to be a witch. She disliked two Irish hurling teams and is said to have doomed their efforts for many years.

The soccer club known as Birmingham F.C. made the mistake of locating its stadium on land previously used by the Romani people. The subsequent curse kept Birmingham's trophy shelf bare of championship hardware for 100 years.

The Hanshin Tigers, who play their baseball in Japan, are said to have fallen victim to the Curse of the Colonel after their fans threw a statue of the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken into a canal after the Tigers won the Japan Championship Series in 1985. What a statue of Colonel Sanders was doing in Hanshin remains obscure to me.

The Sports Illustrated cover curse has it that bad things happen to people soon after they are featured there, which is absolutely true, except when good things happen to them.

Some fans of the Cubs enjoy blaming their team's string of bad finishes on the club's failure to welcome a goat into Wrigley Field nearly 70 years ago when a tavern owner who supported the team bought the billy a ticket. You could look it up.

Actually, I'm a little inclined to go along with that explanation. "Be kind to animals," say I, or suffer the consequences.

On the other hand, would enabling the goat to see the Cubs play have been kind, even in 1945?

I suppose there's no harm in imagining that when the team you favor loses, it has been the victim of an ancient or not-so-ancient curse. Or Friday the 13th. Or Friday the 31st. Or the careless inclination of the manager to walk under ladders, allow black cats to cross his or her path, or foolishly ignore salt spills...or Halloween week. That's the one you don't want to bring up if you encounter anybody from Kansas City.

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This segment aired on November 1, 2014.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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