Someone tell Steve Bartman he can come out now. The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions.
The Cubs outlasted the Indians 8-7, in a 10 inning, World Series Game 7 classic to win the franchise’s first championship since 1908, and simultaneously exorcise the demons of generations of downtrodden North Side baseball fans.
On the flip side of the coin sits the City of Cleveland, which continued it’s tortured sports history after the brief respite provided by LeBron James and the Cavaliers and their 2016 NBA title. In the history of Cleveland sports disappointments, the Game 7 loss has to head to the top of the list of soul crushing losses.
Game 7 was one of the rare sporting events where the game lived up to, and exceeded, the historic pre-game hype.
In a bad omen for the Indians, starter Corey Kluber, who had been dominant in his first two starts of the Series, was tagged by Cubs’ center fielder Dexter Fowler for a lead off homer. He was not unhittable this night.
After the Indians tied the game at 1-1 in the 3rd on a Carlos Santana RBI single, Chicago added 2 runs in the 4th and 5th inning, to push their lead to a seemingly comfortable 5-1. Kluber was chased from the game after allowing four runs in four plus innings after Javier Baez led off the 5th inning with a solo shot.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was pulled by Joe Maddon in favor of starter Jon Lester with 2-outs in the 5th. The move to yank Hendricks in favor of Lester was puzzling because Hendricks was cruising when he was yanked. Lester was initially erratic in relief, and the Indians scored two runs on a wild pitch to crawl to 5-3.
Previously untouchable Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller was also roughed after coming into the game in the 5th. He allowed a run in the 5th on an Anthony Rizzo single, and coughed up a solo home run to journeyman 38-year old catcher David Ross to increase the Cubs lead to 6-3.
Cubs’ Manager Joe Maddon called on closer Aroldis Chapman for the second night in a row. He entered the game with one on and two outs in the 8th. He promptly surrendered an RBI double to Brandon Guyer to pull Cleveland to 6-4.
With Guyer on 2nd, usually light hitting Indians centerfielder Rajai Davis shocked the sporting universe by lacing a two-run homer onto the Progressive Field home run porch, tying the game at 6-6. The home run turned the momentum of the game on its head and Chicago appeared to be on the ropes. Goliath, meet Davis.
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2016
After neither team scored in the 9th, a rain delay postponed the game before the start of the 10th. The break in the action gave the Cubs time to regroup and make their final push for the title.
Following the delay, the Cubs rallied for two runs in the top of the 10th, capped off by Ben Zobrist’s go-ahead RBI double to give Chicago the lead for good. Miguel Montero added another RBI, giving the Cubs an 8-6 lead.
The Indians failed to resurrect themselves from the dead again in the 10th. With a runner on, Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery induced a ground ball, which Kris Bryant tossed to first for the final out of the game, and the Cubs first championship in over 100 years. Celebration. On.
1908 … the goat… Bartman… Banks…. Santo… Williams …. final out of game 7 ..”Go Cubs Go… hey Chicago whatta ya say…..”. pic.twitter.com/5PSzAgqfhZ
— Dan Plesac (@Plesac19) November 3, 2016
The scene in Chicago, as expected, was complete madness.
— Movie Bungalow (@moviebungalow) November 3, 2016
Die hard Cubs fan Bill Murray made his way to the Chicago locker room to pound some bubbly with the team.
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) November 3, 2016
It’s a great day to be a Chicago Cubs fan. The curse is dead. Beer for breakfast in the Windy City. Hug your dad.