I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, but I am a Chicago kid at heart. My entire family including my parents are from/reside in Chicago, Illinois. This has made me a huge fan of everything Chicago growing up, especially Chicago sports. I am extremely passionate about Chicago sports including the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bulls. I believe the largest contributor to helping strengthen my passion for sports PR is the Chicago Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs have been a very controversial sports franchise for many years. The main reason being that they had the longest championship drought in any professional sport with the last time winning the World Series being 108 years ago. The Cubs had been infamous for many years for the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’ wherein 1945 the Cubs asked Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis to leave Wrigley Field during game 4 of the 1945 World Series championship that featured the Cubs vs. the Detroit Tigers. They asked Sianis to leave because his goat that he had with him, Murphy, smelled too bad and it was bothering other fans. After telling Sianis to leave, he said that the Cubs would lose this world series and would never win another world series ever again because they insulted his goat. The Cubs proceeded to lose the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers and failed to reach another World Series until 2016.
The Cubs turnaround of their organization may be the greatest turnaround of a sports franchise in sports history. This turnaround began in 2011 when Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts hired Theo Epstein from the Boston Red Sox organization, who was responsible for breaking the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ and ending the Red Sox’ 86-year World Series drought, to become the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and Jed Hoyer the General Manager for the San Diego Padres to become the new General Manager of the Cubs. In 2011 the Cubs sported one of their worst records in franchise history of 71-91. This feat would mark the start of the turnaround that led the Cubs to win their first World Series in 108 years. The turnaround only took a total of 5 years for Epstein and company to make it work. This turnaround was not only extremely impressive from an athletic standpoint but from a public image standpoint as well. The Cubs public image skyrocketed during this transition as they became one of the most well-liked franchises by the public. Their social media, especially Twitter, has done a beautiful job of changing the Cubs’ image as the team itself changed as well. Epstein and company turned the team into a World Series-winning powerhouse; meanwhile, Julian Green, VP of communications and community affairs, turned the team into a likable and profitable brand. The all-around work that was done to change the Cubs image and team was absolutely inspiring to me not just as a Cubs fan but as a PR major who aspires to one day do the same for another struggling organization.