Chicago Cubs



Image result for November 2, 2016: Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
It took 108 years—the longest gap between world titles in baseball history—for the Cubs to finally end the Billy Goat Curse as a riveting Game Seven against the Cleveland Indians, finalized after 10 innings with the Cubs on top, 8-7, brought them to the long-sought promised land of championship glory.
A well-rounded, highly talented and still rather youthful team, the Cubs breezed through the regular season with 101 victories and spirited postseason triumphs over San Francisco and Los Angeles in the NLDS and NLCS, respectively. But they appeared to meet their match at the Fall Classic in the Indians, whose stellar relief pitching was bailing out a rotation thinned by injury. Down three games to one, the Cubs rebounded to win the next two contests, tie the series and carry newfound momentum into the decisive seventh game.
Cubs fans, starved for a title, weren’t content with watching the game on TV 350 miles away from Cleveland; they used third-party ticket sources to descend upon Progressive Field and make up anywhere from 30-50% of the 38,000-plus in attendance. And they were heard loud and often early on, from Dexter Fowler’s home run to lead off the game to the top of the fifth when they extended the lead to 5-1. A half-inning later, a wild pitch from Jon Lester—having just replaced Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks—brought in two runs and cut the lead to two, but 39-year-old greybeard catcher David Ross (playing his final game) muted the Indians’ revived vibe with a solo shot in the sixth to make it 6-3. The score held until the bottom of the eighth when Cleveland rallied to tie the game off exhausted closer Aroldis Chapman, whose energetic fastball had been sapped of power a day after what many considered a superfluous appearance in Game Six when the Cubs were well ahead.
After both teams came up empty in the ninth, a pocket of rain moved over Cleveland, bringing out the tarps for a 17-minute delay. The Cubs needed the break more than the Indians, and outfielder Jason Heyward took advantage by assembling his teammates under the stands for a players-only meeting and gave a rally cry worthy of Henry V at Agincourt. The tarps removed, the Cubs didn’t waste any time; they placed two men on base, and both scored on separate hits from Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero. The Indians desperately tried to respond in kind, but their 10th-inning rally fell a run short; as third baseman Kris Bryant charged Michael Martinez’s slow roller toward him with two outs, the smile on his face was authentic as could be, happy acknowledgment that his throw to first would end eons of lovable losing in Wrigleyville.

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