Photo Credit: ABC7Chicago
I cannot believe it happened. It still boggles my mind more than 3 days later that the Chicago Cubs have won the 2016 MLB World Series. It seemed hopeless at more than a couple of times for the Cubs to take home the pennant. But somehow, someway, Chicago beat the Cleveland Indians to win their first World Series in over a century. In order to do so, they had to come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit (The Indians blew a 3-1 lead… prepare yourselves Indians’ fans…), and win potentially the most exciting game the MLB has ever seen. And they did. Here’s how it happened.
Key moment: Dexter Fowler. He didn’t allow the nerves of a World Series game 7 get to him. Ever. He came up big by blasting a solo home run to center field to begin the game. Most baseball fans who tune into SportsPress are familiar with my writing, given how much MLB I write about. If you have read my past articles, you know I am a big believer in momentum swings. One play can change a game. This is because a play can swing the momentum and change the game way more than statistics would say it does. Fowler coming in and hitting a lead-off home run against the dominant Indians’ pitcher Corey Kluber was huge. Because of this, the Cubs got the first swing of momentum.
That momentum was not wasted, I might add. Cleveland kept it relatively close, but Chicago gained a 5-1 lead in the top of the 5th. This was a healthy lead knowing run production was going to go down once Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman entered the game.
No coach is perfect, so even Joe Maddon made his share of mistakes. One big one came in game 6, when he elected to pitch Aroldis Chapman for 1 1/3 inning. The Cubs were up 7-2 at the moment, to the point where game 7 was a lock. There was no point in putting him in the game in that point in time. I have heard the argument that Chapman gave Chicago the best chance to win the game at that point. Why risk game 6 for a game 7 still not yet guaranteed? To begin to break this down, game 6 doesn’t matter if winning that game contributed to you blowing game 7. Before the game, I figured the two starters would pitch relatively even. Chapman would have to pitch as well-or better-in order for the Cubs to win the game. Aroldis Chapman ended up coming into the game with 60 pitches over the past two games. Given he is a closer used to low pitch counts, even the adrenaline of a game 7 featuring the two teams with the longest World Series droughts would not supply enough energy to pitch how well he needed to. Luckily for him, Chicago hit off of Kluber well, and even scored a run off of Andrew Miller. Cleveland’s bats were not killing it either. However, Chapman ended up being the guy who started making the curse look real again.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Rajai Davis blasted a 2-run bomb to left field to tie the game at 6 a piece. At this moment, I knew the curse had begun to take effect. The game was tied, but Cleveland may as well have had the lead. They had all the momentum, and they also had a huge advantage in the pitching matchups. It seemed as though the entire world of baseball was frozen. The curse was never more real.
Something spectacular has to happen in order to break a curse. The Cubs had more than enough bad luck. I could go on forever recapping all the times their fortune became chalked up to bad luck. This game was more of the same. The Indians felt like everything was going their way. This continued when Chicago was shut down in the 9th, and the Tribe was ready to take control and win the game. But then, the Cubs’ luck finally was about to go their way. Late in the game, rain forced a 17 minute delay. Kris Bryant told the media afterwards that the team met in the weight room. There the coach explained the situation, and allowed his team to regroup. This delay, though short, was enough to change the momentum to neutral.
Chicago took advantage. They scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning, including a double from Ben Zobrist. Then came the bottom of the 10th. The Cubs gained 2 outs exceptionally quick. It seemed as though the game, and the 2016 season, was over. Then, once again, the curse showed through. The Indians scored a run on a base hit by Rajai Davis. The World Series winning run was at the plate with Michael Martinez up to bat. Unfortunately, Cleveland could not pinch hit for the mediocre Martinez that was due up. In the bottom of the 10th with 2 outs and a runner on first, we saw baseball’s newest iconic moment.
There have been many iconic moments throughout MLB history. There was Babe Ruth calling his shot a little less than a century ago as well as Kirk Gibson hitting a walk off bomb while injured in both legs, the Red Sox storming the field in 2004 after breaking the Bambino curse. This past week, we witnessed the newest unforgettable moment. It was when Anthony Rizzo caught the World Series winning out, stuffed the ball in his back pocket, and mobbed the rest of the team at the pitcher’s mound. Even in Cleveland, you could feel the relief from Cubs fans everywhere. That intensity that finally makes you appreciate the simple phrase “we did it”. There’s no other way to define what happened Wednesday night when the Cubs finally won the World Series for the first time in 108 years..
The curse of the Billy Goat was over. The same curse that involved a man with a goat odor being asked to leave. The same curse that is believed to have cost the Cubs the 1945 World Series. The same curse where a cat on the field translated to a 1969 World Series loss. The same curse when Leon Durham made an error that lead to a major comeback and another Cubs postseason loss. Billy Buckner losing the World Series for the Red Sox when wearing a Cubs’ glove. Steve Bartman interfering with play leading to yet another’s Cubs loss in 2003. Daniel Murphy’s efforts in beating Chicago in 2015 (the goat to begin the curse was named Murphy). It is all over. The Cubs are no longer cursed. No fans, goats, controversial calls, will ever be the reasoning behind the Cubs losing a World Series ever again. In conclusion, we can officially say the curse of the goat is no more.