Memories of Billy Goats and Leon “Bull” Durham are fading. Somewhere, “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks is smiling. The Cubs are headed to their first World Series since 1945, where they’ll meet the slightly less historically challenged Cleveland Indians in a battle of downtrodden fanbases suddenly infused with an unfamiliar emotion called “hope”.
The Cubs last NLCS Game 6 at Wrigley with a chance to clinch a trip to the World Series was the infamous “Steve Bartman” game in 2003. It ended in disaster, a Game 7 loss to the Marlins, and familiar heartbreak for Cubs fans.
Last night, any anxiety that the historically astute fans of the North Side had that history would repeat itself was eliminated when the Cubs jumped Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for two runs in the 1st inning. The early lead took the edge off like a six pack of Old Style.
The all-consuming anxiety Cubs fans have been conditioned to anticipate over generations was never to come. This night was destined to be a celebration, fully absent of arrhythmia.
The Cubs jumped on Kershaw for 5 runs, 4 earned, over 5 innings, including solo shots by Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras. Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks handcuffed the Dodgers for 7 1/3 of shutout baseball and cemented his place in Chicago sports lore.
Closer Aroldis Chapman officially closed the door on the World Series drought, with the final outs coming on a 6-4-3 double play. Celebration on.
— Mauricio Andres Luna (@M_A_Moon_) October 23, 2016
Cubs win pic.twitter.com/CHYoJXjBSp
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) October 23, 2016
The scene on the streets outside of Wrigley, as one would expect after ending a generational drought, was joyfully chaotic (don’t try this at home kids).
— Mike McNamara (@findmac) October 23, 2016
The Cubs will face the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series in Cleveland on Tuesday night. The precise weather forecast is unknown, but clearly hell has officially frozen over.