It was history 108 years in the making.
On the morning of Nov. 3, 2016 (somewhere between the hours of 12:00 and 1:00 in the morning), the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908. It was an exciting series from Game 1 to Game 7 and occurred in a way that had baseball fans all across the country in a state of disbelief.
To begin, the mere presence of both these teams in the series was historical. Before this season, the Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series title in 108 years and had not even played in the World Series in 71 years. They came close last year, but were swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS. Prior to this season, the Cleveland Indians had not played in the World Series since 1997 and had last won a title in 1948. It was easy to see that this particular World Series would be exciting regardless of the outcome. However, what people couldn’t have predicted was the way the series progressed.
It all started with Game 1. The first game of any series is one that teams always strive to win. It sparks momentum within a team that they hope to keep throughout the remainder of the series. Well, the Cubs were unable to initiate that spark during Game 1. They ended up being shut-out by a score of 6-0. However, the spark they were searching for did reach the clubhouse during Game 2 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, where they won by a score of 5-1. Having left Cleveland with the series tied at 1-1, Cubs fans everywhere were excited for their team to come home to Wrigley Field for the next three games. The first of these three games occurred on Friday, October 28th, marking the first World Series game that Wrigley Field had hosted since 1945.
The third, fourth and fifth games of this series were star-studded events. An abundance of well-known Chicago natives were in attendance. Most notably there was Patrick Stump (lead singer of the band Fall Out Boy), Vince Vaughn, and the iconic Bill Murray (arguably the biggest Chicago Cubs fan in Hollywood). Their presence added to the unwavering feeling of joy and excitement that was present in “Wrigleyville.” While nothing would have been nicer than seeing the Cubs win during their home stand, that unfortunately was not the case. The Indians took both Game 3 and Game 4, leading to their 3-1 lead in the series (cue Cavs/Warriors jokes). While they didn’t win the first two games at Wrigley, the Cubs were able to defeat the Indians during Game 5 with a score of 3-2. This kept their dreams, the dreams of their fans and the hope for an end to baseball’s longest franchise drought without a World Series title alive for at least one more game.
It is safe to say that the momentum that is usually searched for during the first game of a series found the Cubs after Game 5. To Cubs fans and supporters, the sixth game of this series was just as stressful as the fifth since it was another elimination game. However, the stress shouldn’t have burdened them for very long because the Cubs went back to Cleveland with vengeance. It was not long before the Cubs took a substantial lead in the game, calming, but not eliminating, the nerves that were running rampant through the hearts of fans across the country. The game ended in their favor with a score of 9-3, and you could almost feel the joy emanating out of Chicago after the last out. They were starting to see the light at the other end of the 108-year drought “tunnel.”
Game 7 was unbelievable from start to finish. I feel as though I can write an entire essay solely on this game, but I will try and condense the excitement to one paragraph. It all started with the leadoff home run from Dexter Fowler in the top of the first inning. The game then went on to include hits from the heart of the lineup (first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Kris Bryant, and outfielder Ben Zobrist), among others. While it is undeniable that Zobrist was a gigantic asset to the Cubs during Game 7, having brought home the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning, baseball fans cannot deny that the sixth inning home run hit by Cubs catcher David Ross was like something written in a movie. Ross announced at the beginning of his year that he would be retiring at the end of the 2016 season, and here he was during the last game of his career: Game 7 of the World Series, hitting a homerun. No script writer in Hollywood could have written something better than this. While Game 7 was filled with an unbridled amount of joy for the Cubs and their fans, it also included its fair amount of hardships. Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman gave up the game-tying runs during his outing in the eighth inning that ultimately led the game to ten innings. There was a 17-minute rain delay before the top of the tenth inning began. These are aspects of the game that yet again, no script writer in Hollywood could have written. But even with the late game turmoil that they experienced, the Cubs came back after the rain delay to accomplish their goal. They hit the go-ahead runs in the top of the tenth, and fielded the last three outs during the bottom of the inning to become what the franchise was last called 108 years ago: World Series champions.