CHICAGO (AP) -Sam Sianis wants to help the Cubs, he really does.
But until the team calls and asks, Sianis says he can't do anything to lift the hex his uncle put on the Cubs when they wouldn't let his pet goat attend the 1945 World Series.
``There's still the curse,'' said Sianis, who besides being the owner of the famed Billy Goat Tavern is the keeper of the curse. ``Nobody called this year.''
If the Cubs have no intention of letting some mangy goat roam Wrigley Field to reverse it - and they don't, at least not yet - the suggestion that they should is but one indication that when it comes to playoffs, there is no place like Chicago.
Moises Alou's glove.
Whatever it is, with a team that hasn't won the World Series in 99 years or been in one since the goat - which had a ticket, by the way - was turned away 62 years ago, fans suspect something's up. And the Cubs' 0-2 start in a five-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks isn't helping matters.
The Cubs will try to avoid getting swept in Game 3 on Saturday.
``If you don't have a sense of dread about this thing, you are truly not a Cubs fan,'' said Steve Rhodes, whose Chicago-oriented Web site posted a song called ``Please Stop Believin''' when the Cubs were trying to get into the playoffs. The crosstown rival White Sox used Journey's ``Don't Stop Believin''' as their theme song during their successful 2005 World Series run.
``Not because of anything except an understanding of the way the universe works,'' Rhodes explained.
But what about winning the division, doesn't that change things? Doesn't that at least spell the end of the song?
A few tweaks to the lyrics, not to mention a slide show complete with a photograph of Bartman in the stands next to a superimposed goat, and the song was good to go.
``I just can't shake the fact that good things just don't happen to this team,'' said Marty Gangler, who wrote the song with Tom Latourette, who sings it.
Neither, apparently can Cub fans who aren't yet flocking to the shops near Wrigley Field to pick up their Division Champion Cubs hats and T-shirts.
Oh sure, sales are pretty brisk at Sports World, across the street from Wrigley, but one of the owners said that it is nothing like the frenzy when the Cubs made the playoffs four years ago. Nor does Earl Shaevitz expect it to get better unless the Cubs somehow get by the Diamondbacks.
``The goat plays into it, the black cat, Bartman, it all plays into it,'' he said.
The Cubs don't buy any of this curse stuff. Former manager Dusty Baker dismissed the curse and current manager Lou Piniella has, too.
There's lots of evidence, though, that Cubs fans take the curse seriously, starting with Web sites with names like ``reversethecurse'' and ``dacurse.'' In 2003, some Cubs fans brought a goat to the ball park in Houston to give the Astros, who were locked in a race with the Cubs, a taste of the curse - an effort that worked, by the way.
Given that the Red Sox vanquished their own ``Curse of the Bambino'' in 2004 and the White Sox ended their own run of futility the next year, Cubs fans might be the most apprehensive in the country.
``Whether you are 13 years old like my son, 53 like I am or somebody's 80-year-old grandfather, in the back of your mind you're always thinking, 'Are they going to win the World Series before I move onto the next world?''' said Lin Brehmer, a popular radio host and devoted Cubs fan.
Given the team's history, who can blame them? Take 1984 when the Cubs made history when they took a 2-0 game lead to San Diego in the playoffs only to lose the next three games and the series.
Or 2003, when they took a 3-2 lead against the Florida Marlins, and were within five outs of winning the series before fate stepped in yet again.
All of that was in Rick Brown's head as the Chicago firefighter watched Wednesday night's Cubs loss to the Diamondbacks at a tavern that sits right next to Wrigley Field.
``If there is one out left and they have a 10-run lead, you still have that pessimistic attitude,'' Brown said. ``You have faith and yet they are the lovable Cubbies and inevitably the other shoe is going to fall.''
On the Net:
Rhodes' Web site, The Beachwood Reporter:

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