Cubs Win, 108 Years in the Making
At 11:46 PM Central time on the 2nd of November 2016, a monumental curse was broken. The Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series over the Cleveland Indians in a wild 7-game series. The Cubs lost two of three games at home, and had to come back to win three straight for the championship. Well, they did. And the deciding Game 7 had twists, turns, while the emotions were running sky high. The adrenaline, the tough decisions, the rain. Yet every pitch had the feel it could turn the whole game around.
With a 5-1 lead, all looking in the right shape, the Cubs had this in the bag–of course they did! I mean, it is the Cubs, they never have blown a costly lead before! Joe Maddon pulling Kyle Hendricks in the 5th inning raised eyebrows, leading to a wild pitch by Jon Lester scoring two Indians runs, making it 5-3. An emotional home run by catcher David Ross made it 6-3. Ross, the catcher of that wild pitch got a run back, in what would be his last game of his career. Lester then cruises through the 6th and 7th. All is looking good for the Cubs. Now, two down in the 8th, and the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, is coming into the game. A total of 5 innings pitched in the last two games? What could possibly go wrong with a three run lead and four outs away from the win? Well, all hell broke loose in Cleveland. A great at-bat by Brandon Guyer, led to an RBI double, making it 6-4. Now, the champagne and trophy equipment are in the Cubs locker room. As Kevin Burkhardt and company head down, they watch the TV, and things just got real. Rajai Davis lines a homerun over the tall left field wall in Cleveland and hits the head of a Fox camera. The Cubs left the door open, and the Indians took full advantage. Davis was not a big slugger, but anything can happen in World Series Game 7. After Javier Baez could not get a bunt down to try to give the Cubs the lead in the top of the 9th, Chapman stayed calm in the bottom half and shut down the top of the Cleveland lineup.
When it rains, it pours. But in baseball, when it rains, momentum balances out. Jason Heyward rallied the troops in the Cubs locker room during a 17-minute rain delay. With Cleveland having the momentum going to extras, the Cubs regained their composure, and they delivered in a huge way. Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell Miguel Montero all played a huge role in the inning. Here it is play-by play:
Top 10th (Pitcher-Bryan Shaw):
-Schwarber singled to left.
-Almora Jr. Pinch-running for Schwarber at first base,
-Bryant fly ball to center caught by Cleveland CF Davis, Almora tags up to 2nd base
-Rizzo intentionally walked.
-Zobrist doubled down the left field line, Almora Jr. scored, 7-6 Cubs
-Montero singled to left, Rizzo scored, 8-6 Cubs
Bot 10th (Pitchers-Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery):
-Napoli struck out swinging
-Gomes grounded out to third
-Guyer singled to left, stole second later
-Davis singled to center, Guyer scored, 8-7 Cubs
-Martinez grounded to third.
A dramatic final inning to a dramatic game, in which viewers at home could feel the stress of the game from the fifth inning on. Once both starting pitchers were yanked, it was a war of attrition, and the Cubs won. The city celebrated, the classic red sign at Wrigley said “World Series Champions,” a sight that seems as unreal as an asteroid hitting the earth. The presence of thousands of Cub fans with W flags celebrating the biggest historical event in Chi-town in maybe the history of their world. I cannot image the scene on Waveland and Sheffield streets, on the Subways heading to Addison station, the elation of all Cub fans, young and old, but most importantly those who came before that did not get to see this day. While the Cubs’ long drought of 108 years overshadowed the Indians’ 68 year championship drought, it really was a big deal for Chicago.
Six years ago, in 2010, Anthony Rizzo was in the minors for the Cubs. I went to Chicago with my family, as we were visiting Dayton, Ohio to see my grandmother. My dad and I went to a Cubs game–back when tickets were cheap–seeing the friendly confines, and seeing the Cubs lose to the Brewers 19-1. Six years later, with brilliant hires of Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon, the Cubs are finally World champions. It is still hard to believe this actually happened last night. It felt like a movie with a never-ending yet exciting plot watching this Game 7. Congrats to the Indians on a great season, but the Cubs proved all the curses wrong and beat the odds to win it all. Seeing the Cubs end this drought is not just a win for Chicago, but a win for all sports. Maybe this can unite the country during this election that is dividing us. Today, we all celebrate the Cubs and that it proves anything—anything–is possible. It will be one hell of a parade on the North side on Friday.