Smug, tongue-in-cheek told-you-so’s aside …
Never a doubt with those Cubbies, eh?
OK, can’t say the vibe was the same as the one pounding within 12 years ago when Boston fell behind the Yankees 3-0 in a best-of-7 ALCS, but Chicago’s National League entry in the 2016 World Series didn’t exactly seem to qualify for “R.I.P.” signs after giving Cleveland a 3-1 head start in this fall’s classic.
Nothing like ending that 108-year drought in style …
Oh, no doubt this was in doubt. Not only did the Cubs need to win three straight to pull things off, they had to win the final two on the road, with Game 7 against Cory Kluber, the Indians’ clever right-hander armed with Greg Maddux-type movement but better stuff.
Already transfixed by the former Cy Young winner twice in the series, Chicago had an uphill battle.
Made even more difficult with the mismanaging of Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman by Joe Maddon the night before.
So much for a “hammer” nailing down a title. Kluber got chased after four frames and Chapman almost vacated any partying in the Windy City with an eighth-inning meltdown for the ages.
Instead, Ben Zobrist emerged as the MVP with the key hit in the top of the 10th – after a rain delay.
Of course. Hey, knew it all the time …
The reality is baseball’s best team this year actually won after all, and a nation has gone crazy in a hyperbolic sense about the game’s closing act this autumn. Great theater, yes. Suspenseful. Exciting. Gut-wrenching. Yep, all of those and then some.
But great game? Get real. It veered more off the track than Harry Caray in his heyday.
Still, kudos to the Cubs for getting it done by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins. Kudos to Cleveland for getting there and battling to the end.
The two came from near polar opposites of the prediction spectrum, with Chicago a heavy favorite coming out of spring training to win it all, and the Tribe to … well, not really figure into the proceedings.
The Indians did, though, right up until the final out. Which saw Michael Martinez, former stiff for the Phillies and owner of a lifetime .197 batting average, serve as manager Terry Francona’s last bullet.
Yeesh. Talk about anticlimactic.
But, the Cubs and their fans were happy to take it. No doubt.