Osco/Sav-on Alumni Club
- Published: Thursday, November 03 2016 12:26
The most epic drought in sports history is over, and the Cubs are world champions.
After 108 years of waiting, the Cubs won the 2016 World Series with a wild 8-7, 10-inning Game 7 victory over the Indians on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. The triumph completed their climb back from a 3-1 Series deficit to claim their first championship since 1908.
A roller-coaster of emotions spilled out in a game that lasted almost five hours, featuring some wacky plays, a blown four-run lead, a 17-minute rain delay and some 10th inning heroics that sealed the deal.
It was a perfect ending for a franchise that had waited forever for just one championship, and your stomach never will be the same.
This is not a dream. The Cubs did it.
It was real, and it was spectacular. After blowing an eighth-inning lead in stunning fashion, the Cubs bounced back in the 10th with run-scoring hits from Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero.
Over? Not quite.
The Indians came to within a run with two outs, until Mike Montgomery entered to induce the game-ending grounder to third base that saved the city. The Cubs rushed the field, waved "W' flags and held a group hugathon.
Tears flowed across Cubs Nation after the final out, and fans responded with the world's biggest group hug, remembering all the loved ones who could only imagine what it would be like to experience this moment of pure bliss.
The 1969 Cubs, the team that defined the word ''collapse,'' were off the hook. So were their predecessors in '84 and 2003, who also came close only to suffer painful endings that scarred two generations of Cubs fans and kept the drought alive.
The billy goat is gone, and the black cat too. And what was the name of the foul-ball dude? No matter. It was never really his fault, and now he's just a footnote in Cubs history.
The catchphrase Cubs fans uttered over the last century and change has been "just one before I die," a plea that fell on deaf ears decade after decade.
Well, you can die in peace now, thanks to Joe Maddon's resilient club, which was bloodied and on the mat after a Game 4 loss at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs picked themselves up when Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman tag-teamed the Indians in Game 5, and they battled to a Game 6 victory in Cleveland to set up the mother of all Game 7s between two franchises synonymous with heartache.
The road trips to cemeteries commence Thursday, where caps, balls, pennants and news clippings will be placed on markers of loved ones, letting them know they did it. The Cubs did it.
It may look like the final scene of "Field of Dreams," a caravan of cars on a mission of closure.
When the Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought, Cubs President Theo Epstein was moved by all the cemetery scenes, the touching tributes to those who taught us to love a baseball team through thick and thin — or in the Cubs' case, through thin and thinner.
Epstein, then the Red Sox's general manager, said fans have thanked him almost every day since 2004 for "what it meant to their family" and those who didn't live long enough to see it happen.
"That really resonated," he said last year. "More than anything else, that feeling influenced my decision to come to Chicago, because that was the one place in the world where you could experience something that meaningful again and play a small part in contributing to something that meaningful."
Epstein arrived in Chicago in the fall of 2011 with the gargantuan task of rebuilding an organization that had tried everything imaginable.
It took him five seasons, three managers and dozens of moves to get the job done, but he did it. The Cubs did it.
The funny thing about waiting 107 years for a championship was that when it finally happened, you didn't want the season to end. It was that much fun, from Kyle Schwarber's smashing of a windshield outside the outfield wall with a spring training home run to Wednesday night.
Courtesy: Chicago Tribute