Posted on November 3, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
It has happened! The 108-year drought, as well as the accompanying curse (if you believe in that sort of thing) is over: the Chicago Cubs are World Series champions. In an unbelievable Game 7, the Cubs prevailed in 10 innings, winning 8-7, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians to do something Cubs fans thought may never happen.
What makes the win sweeter for Cubs fans is how the team persevered throughout the rollercoaster ride that was Game 7, when Cubs teams of the past may have folded under the pressure of the past or concern over an alleged curse. Dexter Fowler gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead with an early home run, and by the middle of the 5th, Chicago had extended its lead to 5-1, at which point, Cubs fans could start to anticipate the win.
Of course, it would not be that easy. The Indians charged back, scoring two runs on one wild pitch in the bottom half of the 5th. After the Cubs extended their lead to 6-3 with a David Ross home run, the Indians scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th, capped by a game-tying home run by Rajai Davis that temporarily broke Cubs hearts and sent the game to extra innings.
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Following a rain delay at the end of the 9th, the Cubs went right back to work, when a lesser team would have succumb to the momentum the Indians built during their three-run rally in the 8th. World Series MVP Ben Zobrist delivered the go-ahead double in the 10th, with a Miguel Montero single providing a much-needed insurance run. The Indians fought back yet again in the bottom of the 10th, scoring a run and putting the tying run on base. But Mike Montgomery was able to coax a groundout for the final out of the game, securing a World Series championship for the Cubs.
“Nothing’s been easy, nothing’s been given to us,” said Jon Lester, who pitched three innings out of the bullpen in Game 7. “Every series has been a battle and been a grind for us. We played three really good opponents to get here, and here we stand. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a part of this. You wouldn’t expect it any other way.”
After the game, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was able to sum up how the game must have felt to Cubs fans back to Chicago. “It was a little surreal,” he explained. “You’re biting your nails the entire time. It was a great release, a great feeling. I think it will all sink in when we get home. I know so many people who are thinking of their grandfathers and fathers now in Chicago and that’s what it’s all about. It’s bigger than these 25 guys, it’s bigger than this organization. It’s about this city and the fans who have stuck by this team forever.”
What may have made the World Series win possible for the Cubs is the collection of young players on the roster who could be ignorant of any curse or bad history holding the franchise back. “I don’t think they know [about the history] — they know to go out there and play baseball,” said David Ross, the elder statesman of the team, about the Cubs young core. “They know they’re really, really good. You have a lot of successful young talented players who have been successful their whole careers, and they expect to succeed. There’s not a whole lot of guys talking about what’s happened in the past. They’re looking to the future, and the future is bright for that group.”
As the celebration raged in Cleveland and Chicago, and everywhere in between, Hoyer had some words for Cubs fans everywhere. “Enjoy it — just enjoy it,” he said. “There’s no curses — there never was a curse. It’s about having the best team and playing well over seven games in a World Series, and we did that. Enjoy it. The Cubs are no different than any other team. When we’re the best team, we can win, and we we’re the best team.”