What transpired on November 2 was quite possibly one of the greatest games in sports history. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in an epic game seven of the World Series, capturing their first championship since 1908 and completing the demise of the Indian’s 3-1 series lead. The Cubs seemed to be in control for most of the game, taking a comfortable 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Hope began to mount for Chicago faithfuls in the waning innings of game seven, until closer Aroldis Chapman took the hill in the bottom of the eighth with a 6-3 lead. The Cuban flamethrower surrendered three costly runs to the Indians, with non-power-hitting OF Rajai Davis roping a clutch two-run homer to tie the game with two outs. The teams exchanged zeroes in the ninth, which meant extra innings. After a brief but anxious rain delay, Cubs OF Ben Zobrist doubled in a run to give the Cubs a 7-6 lead, which they would not relinquish. In the bottom of the 10th, with two outs, Michael Martinez grounded out to a giddy 3B Kris Bryant, and the Cubs became the champions of baseball.
The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. Think about that: the Ottoman Empire was still in existence, there were only 46 states in the U.S. and the life expectancy was 49 and 53 years old for American men and women, respectively. The Model-T was just starting to circulate, and we were a decade away from World War I. That is a big factor worth noting about the Chicago Cubs franchise – they were never really close to winning the World Series during their drought, save for a couple years. (In 1945, they lost the World Series to Detroit in seven games, which was the last time they even sniffed the gold of the Commissioner’s Trophy). Thus, there was a deeply-ingrained tradition of not just disappointment but chronic depression among Cubs fans. However, fans never wavered, always showing up to support their lovable losers regardless of circumstance. A Cubs fan’s dedication goes unparalleled around the league.
That made the World Series Championship so much sweeter for Cubs fans across the country. It’s hard for me to accurately convey the sensation of ultimate triumph after 108 years of ultimate sorrow because, as a baseball fan, I haven’t shouldered that burden. So, I spoke with resident Cubs superfan Patrick Browne ’20 to gain some insight into that feeling:
“It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, just pure euphoria. It took me a couple hours to actually believe it, but once I did, I proudly sobbed. Just thinking about that moment gives me chills and will be a memory I have for a long time,” Browne said, as he recounted the final out.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein took over in 2011, and he has transformed the team from chumps to champions. Over the years, he acquired perennial all-stars in Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Ben Zobrist. He catalyzed the development of homegrown superstars like Bryant, Javy Baez and Addison Russell. His greatest move was likely the 2015 signing of manager Joe Maddon, who had turned a franchise around in Tampa Bay. All these pieces coalesced perfectly to make a team that shattered a seemingly unbreakable curse and will continue to dominate MLB for years to come.
A history of frustration, optimistic season, epic comeback, thrilling climax and ultimate triumph – all components of truly legendary teams. So, Colgate, don’t take this World Series for granted as just another baseball champion, because you’re watching history being written. Hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are world champs today!