You can almost hear Harry Caray belting out the famous call as Cubs fans around the nation rejoice the end of what was the longest stretch without a major championship title in all of sports. 108 years the franchise had to wait, but the wait was well worth it. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs gave us one of the best sporting memories of our time, taking a World Series game 7 to extra innings.
With just 4 outs to go, manager Joe Maddon had everything he could have possibly scripted. A 6-3 lead, his go-to fireballing closer on the mound, and thousands of Cubs fans in his corner.
Aroldis Chapman came in with a runner on 1st and two out in the 8th. After throwing a combined 62 pitches in games 5 and 6, Chapman showed signs of mortality, struggling with his velocity and command. Brandon Guyer doubled home Jose Ramirez to give the Indians some hope and then Rajai Davis sent the city of Cleveland into pandemonium.
On a 2-2 pitch, a fastball near 100 down and in, Davis hit a liner over the high left field fence to tie the game at 6. Cubs fans were in complete shock and disbelief. Cleveland fans were in that same state of shock and disbelief, but all we could see was the frolic at Progressive Field, filled with joy, elation, and hope.
Anyone a fan of sports…or even the common passerby could recognize the magnitude of what had just happened. An epic, historic game was unraveling right before our eyes. To ease the emotional tension and stress, the rains came after a scoreless 9th and forced the umpiring crew to send the game into a rain delay. The rain delay was short, 17 minutes, but the best thing that could have happened to the Chicago Cubs.
All the momentum was on the Indians’ side. You could feel the doubt in the Cubs dugout. And so could Cubs veteran Jason Heyward. As the ground crew was pulling the tarp, Heyward called an impromptu meeting in the visitors’ workout room. He rallied his teammates, reminding them of who they are and what they have set out to do. “It was starting to rain and I was like, they’re going to pull the tarp and we need to get together and have a meeting,” Heyward said. “Just needed to let these guys know they’re awesome. Don’t get down.”
His teammates responded.
Schwarber led the charge in the 10th with a leadoff single to right. Kris Bryant then flew out to deeeep center field, enough to advance pinch runner Albert Almora from 1st to 2nd. The Indians elected to intentionally walk Anthony Rizzo for Ben Zobrist and Zobrist answered, sending a double down the left field line scoring Almora.
Zobrist approached 2nd with a giant leap/fist-pump and the Cubs fans at Progressive Field erupted. So much so that the TV cameras were shaking. The Cubs would add an important insurance run on a Migel Montero single and would head to the bottom of the 10th up 8-6.
Manager Joe Maddon called on Carl Edwards Jr to get the first two outs before yielding a walk to Brandon Guyer. Guyer would advance to second on a defensive indifference and eventually score on yet another clutch hit from Rajai Davis. 8-7. Bottom 10. World Series. Game 7. Can you write it any better?
With a runner on, Maddon turned to lefty Mike Montgomery for the final out. On an 0-1 pitch Michael Martinez hit a slow dribbler to third. Cubs third basemen Kris Bryant, charged, fielded, slipped, threw and got the final out of the 2016 World Series. The Cubs exploded and collapsed towards the pitchers mound with emotion you can’t possibly put into words. Its the type of emotion you can only find in championship sports. Bring in the fact that it was game 7, extra innings, and it had been 108 years since the franchise’s last title, and you get this uncategorized sense of jubilation.
It was a Game 7 unlike any other. A memory made in the sporting world and a historic event you could tell was being formulated as it happened. Sports fans around the nation will remember where they were when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. I know I will.
108 years. The wait is over. The curse is over. Congrats to the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Go celebrate Chicago.