US & Canada

Chicago Cubs: City parties as baseball 'curse' ends after 71 years

The Chicago Cubs celebrate after winning Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field, 22 October Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Cubs leapt for joy on the field

Chicago has been celebrating after the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking the team into the baseball World Series for the first time since 1945.

They partied outside Wrigley Field stadium after the Curse of the Billy Goat - supposedly placed on the Cubs by a disgruntled fan - was finally lifted.

The team's decades in the wilderness had become the stuff of legend.

In the 1989 film Back to the Future II, a 2015 World Series win for the Chicago team was dubbed a "long shot".

That long shot came one step closer on Saturday when the Cubs beat the Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.

They will now meet the American League champions, the Cleveland Indians, for the first game of the World Series on Tuesday.

Most of the fans celebrated peacefully, with many taking selfies in front of the stadium, but one person was arrested after climbing a traffic pole, and several others were detained after letting off fireworks.

The win is a boost for a city with a more sombre reputation in recent years, overtaking Los Angeles and New York in terms of gang murders.

'Tears here tonight'

"My grandpa's been alive for so long, and he's never experienced this," Adam Lewickas, 31, told AFP news agency.

"You've seen tears here tonight," said fellow Chicagoan Anthony Madrano, 43. "You've seen people just so emotional about it."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption After 71 years the Chicago team are going through
Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright AP
Image copyright AP
Image caption Fans cheered and waved flags outside the stadium
Image copyright AP

On social media, people jokingly thanked President Barack Obama, a former Illinois senator who lived and worked in Chicago, for gifting the city a Cubs breakthrough "on his watch".

The Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908 but had some near-misses up until 1945.

In that fateful year, tavern owner William Sianis and his pet goat were turned away from Game 4 of the World Series because other fans had complained about the smell.

Sianis is said to have cursed the Cubs, so that they would never win a World Series game again, or even reach the World Series again (different versions of the story exist).

As the city celebrated this weekend, Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh wrote: "The weight is lifted. The wait is over, at last."

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