Five competitive eaters, a 40-pound goat, & a Cubs curse.
Takeru Kobayashi, Kevin LA Beast, Pat Bertoletti, Tim Brown, and Notorious Bob Shoudt eat a goat to break the Cubs curse.
Every so often a dream team comes together. The Million Dollar Quartet. The 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team. The cast of The Breakfast Club.
For all we know the 1945 Chicago Cubs could have been a dream team too. And maybe they could have gone on to be a dream team in 1946 and ’47 and ’48 or any other of the years in between then and now. And maybe they could have won the World Series that year and the next and the next.
But they didn’t. In fact, the Cubs haven’t won a National League pennant or a World Series since. And, as every Chicagoan knows, there is only one place to lay blame: a goat.
It was 1945, the last year the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series. They were playing at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Tigers and Billy Sianis, owner of the now-iconic Billy Goat Tavern (Cheezborger! Cheezborger!), attended with a very special guest: his pet goat. The goat’s day at the ballpark was shortlived , however, when they were both asked to leave because the mammal’s strong odor was bothering other fans.
“Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,”
And they didn’t.
The Cubs haven’t won since. In fact, the Chicago Cubs hold the longest current World Series championship drought: it’s been 106 seasons since winning the World Series. And the year that goat was banished was the last year the Cubs even had a chance.
Baseball fans have tried everything over the years to try to break the curse. Sam Sianis, nephew of Billy Sianis, has brought a goat to Wrigley Field numerous times. A group of five fans marched a goat from Arizona to Chicago. A severed goat’s head was delivered to the front office.
None of those attempts have broken the Chicago Cubs billy goat curse.
This year the Cubs are closing in on a pennant. While it seems like they have a good chance of playing their first World Series game since that fateful day, fans are holding their breath. You never know when the curse of the goat might kick in.
This also means that the city is ready for another attempt to break the curse.
Pat Bertoletti and Tim Brown, two local competitive eaters, took it upon themselves to do just that at their Lincoln Square restaurant, Taco in a Bag.
As accomplished, record-holding competitive eaters they knew there was only one option: they had to eat a goat. Not a goat curry. Not a goat leg. Not a goat kabob. They needed to eat an entire 40-pound goat.
Only in eating an entire goat could the curse be broken.
But they couldn’t do it alone: they needed a dream team.
So they called in Notorious B.O.B. Shoudt, a man who has eaten 36 peanut butter and banana sandwiches in 10 minutes, 13.9 pounds of chili spaghetti in 10 minutes, 23.4 pounds (2.4 gallons) of salmon chowder in 6 minutes.
And they called in Kevin “LA Beast”: a popular YouTuber who has eaten pounds of butter and raw eggs and pancake syrup.
And they called in the on-and-only, the living legend himself — Takeru Kobayashi — the former 6-time Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating champion, arguably the greatest eater ever to live.
Usually in an eating contest it is man against man. Every man for himself. But to break a curse, it’s often said, you need to join your forces, put aside differences, and work together. Together these five competitive eaters formed a dream team who would take on that 40-pound goat. They would play to their strengths, account for others weaknesses, work together, and banish a curse.
There was Kevin’s ability to eat anything — eyeballs to liver. There was Pat’s speed. Tim’s fingerwork. Bob’s determination. Kobayashi’s powerhouse capacity.
This was man versus goat versus curse.
(And, I mean, I couldn’t even finish the nacho helmet at Wrigley Field so more power to them all.)
Together they gathered at Taco in a Bag on Tuesday night. Together they stood over the carcass. Together they devoured. Ripping apart the meat, the organs, the head, the limbs, each one grabbed handfulls of the animal, chewed, swallowed, and went back for more.
Violently they tore bones, gnawed everything off of them, and washed it all down with blue and green bottles of Kickapoo Joy Juice and the clear liquid of Magical Unicorn Tears.
It didn’t matter who was eating more. It didn’t matter who was eating what. It didn’t matter what the time on the clock said. All that mattered was that the curse would soon be broken. That soon the Cubs would be released from the terrible reign of the goat that has held them captive as losers for so many years.
Two miles away, the Chicago Cubs were playing the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. As the team of competitive eaters obliterated the goat, the home team was winning, cinching the game, four nothing, and inching closer to a pennant.
At Taco in a Bag it was five nothing. Five competitive eaters, one empty plate.
Fifteen minutes after breaking flesh they licked up the last chunks of fat, the last bits of crispy skin, and the last reservoir of brown juices. The goat was gone, annihilated, and hopefully, the curse of the billy goat was too.
I don’t know anything about baseball. So thank you Wikipedia for all facts in this post.