On Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings to win their first World Series since 1908. The “curse” is officially over after 108 years.
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The Cubs had a 6-3 lead heading into the eighth inning, but the action was far from over. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Cleveland tied the game up when Brandon Guyer hit an RBI double, and centerfielder Rajai Davis hit a two-run home run. These runs were hit off of Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman, who had been used in both game five and game six and pitched a combined four innings. Cubs manager Joe Maddon gambled with throwing Chapman back into the line of fire with no rest, and it backfired.
The Cubs had runners on second and third in the top of the ninth inning, but could not score. The Indians did not threat and the game headed into extra innings.
The start of the 10th inning was delayed due to a 17-minute rain delay. With more rain on the way, both teams knew that if they wanted to be World Series champions, they needed to score quickly.
Chicago got the memo. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber got things started with a leadoff single before Albert Almora Jr. came in to run for him. Third baseman Kris Bryant flied out to center, but Almora was able to advance to second. First baseman Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked before left fielder Ben Zobrist, who was playing in his second consecutive World Series (2015 with the Kansas City Royals), hit a double that scored Almora Jr. and advanced Rizzo to third. The Cubbies tacked on another run when backup catcher Miguel Montero singled to score Rizzo.
The Cubs were then just three outs away from doing the impossible. They turned to Earl Edwards to finish the job on the mound with an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the 10th inning.
Batter #1: First basemen Mike Napoli – struck out swinging. Out #1.
Batter #2: Third baseman Jose Ramirez – groundout to shortstop Addison Russel. Out #2.
The third out was evasive. Guyer was intentionally walked, advanced to second and scored on an RBI single from Davis. Maddon then came to the mound and took out Edwards, and brought in lefty Mike Montgomery.
Batter #5: Right fielder Michael Martinez. Ground-out to third baseman Bryant. Out #3.
They did it. The Cubs were finally champions.
The 2016 World Series was one for the ages. Featuring two franchises that have struggled mightily in recent memory, this World Series gave baseball fans all around the world a breath of fresh air. It was hard to root against either of these teams. This was the first time that a Cubs’ World Series appearance was even televised, their last appearance being in 1945, which was of course a loss. The Indians had not won a pennant since 1997, the third time in a row that a trip to the World Series ended in disappointment for the Tribe; 1948 was the last time Cleveland was on top of the baseball world.
As if the storylines were not enough, the two teams delivered. Going into the series, it was known that the Indians had the home field advantage with the American League’s All-Star victory that took place in July. The Indians dominated early, winning three of the first four games of the series and needing only one more victory to win it all. However, Chicago won game five at Wrigley Field and forced the series back to Cleveland. The Cubbies then picked up two more victories in enemy territory, capped off with their game seven win on Wednesday night.
The last time a team won the World Series after losing three out of the first four games was the Pittsburgh Pirates who defeated the Baltimore Orioles in seven games in 1979.
Words cannot describe how the city of Chicago felt after the Cubs got the final out of the ballgame. The FOX postgame broadcast showed people celebrating in the streets, some laughing, some crying. People hugged each other, gave high fives, and shouted “Go Cubs Go!” in the streets. It was a moment that the city has been waiting on for over a century.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 3, 2016
Some thought that they could never do it, but the Chicago Cubs are finally World Series champions again. They finished the regular season with the best record in baseball and proved that they belonged in the fall classic. Both the Cubs and the Indians have a great core on their teams and should remain competitive for years to come. This year was finally the Cubs’ year and Chicago can finally say that the curse is no more.