As we learned just a few months ago in the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, having a 3-1 lead in a series does not guarantee a championship. The Warriors leapt out to a 3-1 lead only needing to win one more game in the series, but lost to Cavaliers in a close game seven. The Chicago Cubs, played on the road in game seven. They defied the odds and stormed back in the series to win in the 10th inning of game seven. Now, for the first time in 108 years, a World Series has been won on the North Side of Chicago.
“I was so emotional after the game that I could not even fathom what had just happened for maybe 10 minutes,” said freshman Juan Gallardo. “My family has been life long Cubs fans and this was probably the best day of my life.”
For Cubs fans, this victory means so much more than just a title. Year after year, the Cubs and their fans endured what seemed like endless years of devastating finishes to their season, like in 2003 in the National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Florida Marlins. When Steve Bartman reached across the wall and grabbed a ball that would have been caught by a fielder, it seemed to ruin the Cubs only chance at a championship. However, the 2016 Cubs redeemed all of the bad years in the past, and as many posters read after the game, it was “worth the wait.”
“I was absolutely speechless at first,” said Mr. Thrasher, a life-long Cubs fan. “I am mostly happy for all my friends and family in Chicago and I am happy for the city. I have many friends and family members that I wish were able to see this dream come true for the city.”
To set the stage for the most historic game 7 in World Series history, we had the National League Earned Run Average (ERA) leader in the regular season, Kyle Hendricks, up against the man who seemed virtually unhittable in the postseason, Corey Kluber. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, and the Indians, 1948. Before everyone in the stadium was settled in, on just the 4th pitch in the game, lead off man Dexter Fowler hit a booming home run over the center field wall. In the bottom of the 5th inning after a huge top half from the Cubs to make the game 5-1. Hendricks got two quick outs, But then walked Carlos Santana and was replaced by John Lester. Then the next batter grounded out softly to the catcher, David Ross. Ross made an off balance throw and the ball ended up in the stands. That put runners on second and third, but there were two outs so the Cubs were hoping to get out of this inning with no runs scoring for the Indians. After just a few pitches, Lester made a wild throw which allowed both men to score, narrowing the lead to 5-3 Cubs. Now we skip to the bottom of the eighth after David Ross redeems himself a bit in the sixth inning by hitting a solo home run. Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager, despite using star closer Aroldis Chapman in the previous two games at extended lengths, decided to bring him in again in the 8th inning asking him to finish off the game. However, things do not always go as planned in sports, and Chapman got roughed up for three runs in the inning, including a huge two run home run from Rajai Davis to tie the game at 6-6. The momentum definitely swung in favor of Cleveland at this point, as every Cubs fan had the same thought “not again.” Both teams were unable to score in the 9th inning, bringing game 7 into extra innings. After a brief 20 minute rain delay, we go to the top of the 10th inning still tied 6-6. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber was the leadoff man, and he ripped a single to right field. Schwarber was lifted in favor of pinch runner Albert Almora Jr., who advanced to 2nd on a deep flyout by 3rd baseman Kris Bryant. The Indians looked to play it safe and intentionally walk 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitch to 2nd baseman Ben Zobrist, but that was their first mistake. Zobrist doubles to score Almora and push Rizzo to 3rd. The Cubs would eventually score one more on a single by catcher Miguel Montero to put them up 8-6. Now we go to the bottom of the 10th inning, with the Indians three outs away from blowing that 3-1 lead we talked about earlier. Maddon brings in his last true reliever, Carl Edwards Jr. for the biggest three outs of the young pitcher’s life. No pressure right? Edwards was able to retire the first two batters quickly, but then he ran into trouble when he walked left fielder Brandon Guyer, which put every Cubs fan into an uneasy mood. Guyer advanced to second base during the next at bat with the hero of the 8th inning, Rajai Davis. Davis at this point, is having all the big at bats for his team, so why not single to scores Guyer, and make it 8-7 Cubs. Maddon had seen enough and decided to bring in relief pitcher Mike Montgomery, praying he could finish the game off. With two outs and a man on first, right fielder Michael Martinez came to the plate with the weight of Cleveland on his shoulders. After a first pitch strike from Montgomery, Martinez grounded slowly to 3rd base and Kris Bryant grabbed the ball. On his throw, Bryant slipped and fell to a knee, but the throw is in line and Rizzo catches the ball. For the first time in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs are world champions!
“I have been a Cubs fan since I was 7 years old,” said Mr. Ohrn. “I still cannot believe they won such an exciting, back and forth game when it mattered as much as it did that day. It was a great day to be a Cubs fan.”
To every Cubs fan, congratulations. Everyone in Chicago, whether they liked baseball or not, knew about the struggles of the Cubs over the years, but now the “Curse of the Goat” is over and the Cubs will fly that W for the rest of this year.
Photo Courtesy/ Daniel Wood from ESPN