Worth the Wait!
In the immortal words of Harry Caray “Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!” 108 years in the making, and it must have felt like another 108 years for Cubs fans tonight.
That might have been the best game 7 in the history of baseball. All the storylines coming in, tons of action, David Ross hits a home run in his final game, a massive comeback, a RAIN DELAY, extra innings, winning run at the plate in the bottom of the 10th. It was just amazing to watch. When Davis was coming up in the bottom of the 8th and Joe Buck said “representing the tying run”, no word of a lie, I snickered to myself and said “Rajai Davis isn’t going to hit one out though”.
At the end of the day, the Cubs owe a massive thank you to the American League for winning the All-Star game. I don’t think the Cubs win game 7 at home, with all the pressure in the world on them to deliver. Being on the road for that game I think was real key last night. I don’t think it’s why the Indians lost it, but it’s why the Cubs won it.
Of course that was far from the only reason the Cubs won it. They made adjustments. What a concept, hey Jays fans?! Some of it I’m sure was fatigue on the part of Corey Kluber. It was his third game pitched in nine days. 25 years ago pitchers were used to that kind of workload (Jack Morris, John Smoltz, one of the greatest games ever, look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about…idiot), but not today. Even if you take Kluber out of it though, Andrew Miller hadn’t been hit all playoffs. Tonight, the Cubs rocked him. As the series went on, they made the adjustments, and by last night the Tribe just didn’t have an answer.
I’ll tell you one thing the Cubs didn’t do better, and that’s manage! Joe Maddon in those last two games seemingly lost his mind. Why did Chapman pitch in game 6? Why did he pull Kyle Hendricks? Why did he pull Jon Lester? Maddon seemingly was doing everything he could to keep his team from winning!
One other thing that I’ll say which you won’t hear others say…the Indians were a bit of a fluke. They didn’t hit that well in the playoffs, yet kept getting a lead to allow their bullpen to shutdown most of the games they won. That’s pretty difficult to do consistently. That’s not to say they’re anything of a bad team, and definitely not to take away from how hard they fought or anything that they accomplished, but it’s just honest.
They were insanely clutch. It is amazing in baseball how some of the worst hitting teams are so clutch in the playoffs. The Giants just won three in five seasons, and each of those teams had “timely” hitting. And you can’t say that it’s just a product of having better pitching, because if that were the case then the Atlanta Braves of the 90’s would have won five World Series, not just one. It’s all mental toughness.
And if you think the Tribe are a one and done you’d be wrong. No Danny Salazar outside of some innings out of the pen. No Carlos Carrasco. No Michael Brantley. Those are three massive pieces that the Indians were without these playoffs. Add to that, Francisco Lindor is just getting started, and they should have some added revenue thanks to this postseason run to be a buyer in the offseason. Will they be back next season? Don’t know. But they’ll be a contender for a long time.
As will the Champs. The question after a team wins a championship these days immediately is “can they do it again?” and in most cases the answer is “no, you f***in hack”. But in this scenario, this really could be the start of a dynasty. This Cubs team was amazing while facing an insane amount of pressure all season. Now with the pressure off….and the kids only getting better…who the hell knows how good they can be?!
The thing that sucks as a by-product of this series is…now what? 86 years since the Red Sox had won, that was done 12 years ago. 108 years since the Cubs had won, that’s now dead. Perhaps the Indians losing another World Series game 7 will help grow their legend? But it definitely doesn’t feel the same. It’s been such a catch 22 with these insanely long droughts. You pull for the teams to end it, but then once they end it some of their charm is now gone. I don’t find the Red Sox nearly as loveable now as I did in 04. In fact, I’ve heard some in the media echo the sentiment that Red Sox fans have become perhaps the most arrogant fan base in baseball. The Cubs were the “loveable losers”. Now, who knows?
Of course the link between those two teams is Theo Epstein. He didn’t do much of the heavy lifting with the 04 Red Sox, but he did it all for the Cubs. The man has simply cemented his place in baseball history, and he’s still only 42 years old.
I’m well aware that this isn’t close to the best piece I’ve written, or the best piece you’ve read tonight or Thursday morning whenever you see this. It’s likely the worst! But I had to write about what is maybe the sports story of 2016. What a game, what a team. For the first time in 108 years, congrats to the World Champion Chicago Cubs.
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