The Chicago Cubs and the cosmic number 108
I am not, I don’t think, a superstitious person, and I’d say that I think of myself as being fairly rational and level-headed. OK, I won’t talk about certain things if I’m trying not to jinx things. I might move around the room if a given sports moment demands it. I might shut down those getting too far ahead of themselves — like don’t talk to me about the Cubs and anything other than the NLDS.
Maybe I’m a little superstitious.
But there are some things that are plainly, empirically, too hard to rationally explain without the belief of greater forces, perhaps cosmic, influencing events. The thing that gives credence to the idea of a Cubs “curse” is to consider that they were a dynasty when they were birthed the White Stockings before the end of the 19th Century and then, when they took the Cubs name, won back-to-back championships in 1907 and 1908. They were too slow to integrate and suffered from a host of management problems — but still a 108-year World Series drought is hard to rationalize given their previous winning ways.
So that’s why I want to believe Grant DePorter, who I interviewed for a Washington Post story that ran Friday. Here’s DePorter’s theory around 108, in short, and why he believes the 108th year will spell the end of the “curse”:
DePorter believes this is the Cubs’ year — for reasons that include the team’s hitting prowess, enviable pitching rotation assembled by Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein, the presence of Zen master Manager Joe Maddon . . . and the cosmic power of the number 108. The number seems to pop up everywhere around the Cubs, DePorter said. It has been 108 years since the Cubs last won the World Series and the number 108 is cosmically important, a case he relates on the walls of the Harry Caray restaurant. Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta is a practitioner of yoga, in which the number 108 is sacred. He recently invited The Plain White T’s band to perform at a Cubs rally. How many songs had they recorded? 108. And do you know how many stitches are in a baseball? The diameter of Stonehenge? Yep, eight more than a hundred.
Perhaps most telling of all, the Cubs’ World Series victory was foretold by the popular film “Back to the Future II.” The sequel is 108 minutes long.
“Really all the signs are saying it’s going to happen this year,” DePorter said.
DePorter sent me an email today pointing out that Javier Baez hit his home run that won Game 1 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants on pitch 108. Really? Pitch 108? What. Are. The. Odds? And thanks to him for the screenshot. He knows how to back up his evidence.
Then he pointed out something else I should have realized: today is 10/8. Game 2 begins at 7 p.m.