by Kimberly Pena
One of the greatest post seasons that this generation will ever see has come to an end and the conclusion was nothing short of incredible. The Chicago Cubs ended America’s longest championship drought with their first World Series win in 108 years. They ended their magical season in dramatic fashion by roaring back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in a nerve-wracking Game Seven.
“Game Seven,” for many sports fans, is one of the most anticipated and greatest words ever spoken in sports. All hands are on deck and every rule in the book is off the table. Both managers will do everything in their power to assure victory, even if it means that they have to make bizarre decisions that they would never make in the regular season. That is how pivotal Game Seven is: winner takes all.
Game Seven was filled with that and more. The game began with a bang as Dexter Fowler became the first player in MLB history to hit a lead-off home run to begin a Game Seven. Later on the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon made a questionable move in the fifth inning when he removed pitcher Kyle Hendricks from the game after a harmless two-out walk. Prior to the walk, Hendricks was absolutely dominating the Indian’s offense and had an 5-1 cushion. With the new pitcher in, John Lester was a bit erratic and threw a wild pitch, which led to two runs across the board. One of those runners got on from an infield hit against Lester, cutting the lead to 5-3.
The Cubs would eventually get one of those runs back by a home run from the veteran catcher David Ross. The game was really beginning at that point. In the eighth inning, with two outs and a runner on base, Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman came in the game to get the final out of the inning. However, an obvious fatigue, Chapman was not able to get the job done as he allowed a dramatic game tying two-run home run from the bat of Indians’s outfielder Rajai Davis, tying the game 6-6.
The game remained tied heading into the 10th inning. But before the inning began, there was a 17-minute rain delay, allowing the Cubs to recompose themselves after the momentum swung to the side of the Indians. During the delay, Jason Heyward gave a pep-talk to the Cubs, reminding them of who they are.
“I had to let them know that we had 103 wins because we had overcome every bit of adversity that we’ve had thrown at us to this point,” said Heyward to reporters. “We needed 114 wins, and I told them, everybody in this room could go out and get this 114th. It was a venting thing for me, letting these guys know to keep that fire.”
His talk did seem to resonate as the team would take a 7-6 lead in the top of the 10th from the bat of the eventual World Series MVP Ben Zobrist. Miguel Montero would tack on an insurance run and the eventual game-winning run.
With one out away from World Series galore, Mike Montgomery pitching with a one-run lead allowed a weak ground ball to third baseman Kris Bryant, who threw across the infield to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, sealing the team’s first ever World Series championship in over a century. Something that 108 different Cubs’s teams were not able to accomplish, this 2016 group was able to do. The city of Chicago jolted of excitement and had the party of a century, uniting the city once again.
“Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out,” said MVP Zobrist. “The Indians never gave up either, and I can’t believe we’re finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy.”
The series was highlighted by bullpen dominance and sub par hitting with runners in scoring position. Both teams depended heavily on their bullpens as neither team’s starter were able to pitch past the sixth inning. Left handed pitcher Andrew Miller was Cleveland’s secret weapon; meanwhile, flame thrower Aroldis Chapman was the Cubs. Both pitchers threw a combination of 15 and 1/3 of an inning with each pitcher throwing seven and 2/3 of an inning.
The organization is hoping with this monkey off their back, the team can hold up to this caliber of excellence and potentially create a dynasty. With the youth and strong talent that the team has, it is not something too big to dream of for the Chicago hopefuls. With the World Series loss, the Cleveland Indians became the new team with the longest drought without a World Series championship (68 years).
With their present looking just perfect, the Chicago Cubs cannot look anywhere but up. The curse is over, the drought is done with and the Chicago Cubs are the World Series Champions.