Friday, April 5, 2013 — Mantegna went home and began working on a play about the Bleacher Bums he came to know and love at Wrigley Field.
“My hope was to capture something that transcended winning and losing, to capture a group of people who came together with something in common. You had all races, all kinds of people, bums and business executives earning $200,000 a year, and they were united in one thing.
“It just amazed me, no one ever talked about anything that happened outside the ballpark. The Cubs and baseball were the common denominator.”
In the play, each of the fans comes to the game with a problem and by the time the game is over all their problems have been solved, leaving only the Cubs’ problem unresolved.
They lose again.
And that has not changed yet, the Cubs still being without a World Championship for 104 years and have not had a World Series played in their park since 1945, when Bill Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, was asked to leave a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers because his pet goat’s odor was bothering the fans.
Angered, he pronounced, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”
They haven’t, and it has come to be known as the Jinx of the Billy Goat, which just might make for Mantegna’s next Broadway play.