Cubs’ drought-ending World Series title has no peer in Chicago sports history – Chicago Tribune
They tossed their hats and gloves into the air after the final out like joyous Little Leaguers and then threw themselves into each other’s arms like brothers — and this will connect them forever.
They sang along with “Go, Cubs, Go” as thousands of fans who wouldn’t miss World Series Game 7 for the world broke into song. They carried retiring catcher David Ross on their shoulders and wore wide-eyed expressions of disbelief to which every Cubs fan could relate.
The Cubs partied like it was 1908 after their 8-7 victory Wednesday over the Indians ended the longest, cruelest wait in sports.
“This about made me pass out,” World Series MVP Ben Zobrist said. “An epic battle. I can’t believe that after 108 years, we’re able to hoist the trophy.”
For generations of fans, the scene of the Cubs celebrating a World Series title will provide the most indelible images of Chicago sports for years to come. None of us will live long enough to see anything better, any moment packed with more meaning. This is the view from the top of the sports world, the center of baseball utopia, a place where doubt and dread and devastation no longer reside, a place the World Series-winning Cubs and their loyal fans now occupy.
At exactly 11:47 p.m. Wednesday at Progressive Field, decades of suffering ended when first baseman Anthony Rizzo caught third baseman Kris Bryant‘s throw for the last out, officially marking the greatest moment in Chicago sports history. Holy cow, they did it, Harry. Hey, hey, Jack, the Cubs are World Series champions. Click your heels in heaven, Ronnie. The wait is over, Ernie, after all those seasons you believed when nobody else did.
The last great American sports story now has an ending, the happiest one ever, pleasing baseball romantics and fulfilling the lives of so many Cubs fans. Many of the longest-suffering ones will say they can die happy now, no exaggeration. The younger fans who consider Ryne Sandberg old will expect more championships to follow, and they will. The rest of us can celebrate the death of redundancy when discussing the Cubs because this forever changes their tradition.
It seems impossible to write yet harder to fathom. The Cubs have won the World Series. That is no longer a punch line or part of a movie pitch. The Cubs have won without pigs flying or hell freezing over. That might not sink in for Cubs fans until they stop smiling, maybe sometime next summer. Or maybe never.
Naturally for the Cubs, nothing came easily. They waited out a 17-minute rain delay before the 10th. And extra innings were necessary because of Joe Maddon’s unnecessary use of Aroldis Chapman 24 hours earlier with a five-run lead. Chapman came on in the eighth with the Cubs four outs from history, and his weary left arm gave up three runs — a double to Brandon Guyer and a two-run homer to Rajai Davis — to tie the score at 6-6. Every jaw back in Chicago hit the floor and every blood pressure rose. This felt like a cruel joke.
But the Cubs offense bailed out Maddon when Zobrist doubled and Miguel Montero singled to drive in runs in the 10th. Any second-guessing will be moot by the time the champagne dries. They can laugh about it at every reunion.
In rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series, the Cubs culminated the five-year plan President Theo Epstein brought to town in 2011. Two years before Epstein arrived, the family of nerdy investment banker Tom Ricketts bought the Cubs for $745 million, talking about championships nobody took seriously.
Ricketts, a die-hard fan who met his wife, Cecelia, in the Wrigley Field bleachers, had visions of doing what the Cubs had not done since 1908. Ricketts’ legacy now becomes being the guy who helped make the dreams shared by so many fans like him come true.
Epstein surely will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame one day, known as the Curse Buster after ending a combined 194 years of waiting for the Red Sox and Cubs. His roster transformation gives the Cubs reason to believe they will be planning more parades. After more than a century of futility, faith in the Cubs is no longer blind — not after becoming the first champions since the Royals in 1985 to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit.
Dexter Fowler instilled confidence immediately on this historic night by leading off with a 406-foot home run to dead center off Corey Kluber, the first sign pitching for the third time in nine days took a toll on the Indians ace. Kluber left after four, outpitched by Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, “The Professor” who deserves tenure in Chicago.
The Cubs survived Maddon’s overmanaging when he replaced Hendricks with Jon Lester with two out in the fifth — despite Hendricks starting to find his rhythm. After a throwing error by Ross on a swinging bunt and a wild pitch by Lester, the Indians had scored two runs without hitting the ball past the pitcher’s mound.
Fitting the Cubs’ storybook season, Ross went deep in his next at-bat — and in the final game of his career. By the time “Grandpa Rossy” finished rounding the bases, everyone from the Cubs dugout to Wrigleyville started to sense the inevitable. It almost seems appropriate that fans known for their patience had to wait until the 10th to exhale.