The Chicago Cubs win the World Series, What it means to me


Cory Vervynckt, sports editor

Friday June 27, 2013 I made my first trip to Wrigley Field. As a lifelong Cubs fan it was a dream come true to see the famous sign at Addison and Clark saying “Welcome to Wrigley Field Home of the Chicago Cubs”.

My first trip to the “Friendly Confines” was made even more special by my dad, another lifelong Cubs fan, who made special recommendation to my mom to have us sit in the bleachers in the outfield like a real Cubs fan. I still remember our walk to our seats and my dad telling me “You haven’t been to Wrigley if you haven’t sat with the famous Bleacher Bums.”

The Cubs, still known as the Loveable Losers, got the win that day 7-2 over the Washington Nationals. The Cubs are no longer the Loveable Losers, on November 2, 2016 they ended their 108 year championship drought by defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in game seven of the World Series. It’s been a long struggle for Cubs fans, but it is finally over.

For 108 long years the Chicago Cubs went without a championship due to poor management, shotty ownership and the curse.

For those of you who don’t know back in 1945, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series before this year, Willie Sianis owner of the Billy Goat Tavern brought his pet goat to the game and after fans complained about the smell of the goat he was asked to leave. Angered by the incident he said “The Cubs will never win again.” and the Cubs were cursed.

The curse of the Billy Goat has been blamed for many of the things that have happened to the Cubs over the years, like in 1969 where they were in first place of the NL for most of the year but fell apart over the last month and a half of the season and missed the playoffs, or in 2003 when The Cubs lead the Marlins 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning game six of the NLCS and Steve Bartman attempted to catch a foul ball over a Cubs outfielder, which kept the Marlins inning alive, The Marlins went on to score eight runs after the incident that inning, eventually winning the game and the series over the Cubs.

The Cubs have been called cursed for a long time, but this 2016 team was built to destroy that curse. Young talent like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Addison Russell coupled with veterans like Jon Lester, Jason Heyward and David Ross made Cubs fans believe the impossible was possible.

Fans believed the team was still cursed early in the season when three games in slugger Kyle Schwarber collided into center fielder Dexter Fowler going for a fly ball and tore his ACL and LCL. Fans bemoaned no matter how good a Cubs team is they are still cursed.

The loss of Schwarber was felt by everyone in Chicago, but the Cubs were able to rally together and pull off a 103-59 record, the best record in baseball.

Going into the NLDS the Cubs were tasked against a Giants team with two of the best pitchers in the game, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, the Giants for the past three times had won the World Series on an even year (2010, 2012, 2014) and most thought the Giants could keep their even year streak alive by dispatching the Cubs.

Cubs won the NLDS in dramatic fashion scoring four runs in the top of the ninth to win the game 6-5 and the series 3-1.

The next test the Cubs faced on their way to the World Series was the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers-headed by arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw-gave the Cubs a tough series. The Cubs won game one on a Miguel Montero grand slam in the eighth inning. Dropping games two and three made people believe that the Cubs curse was still alive and well and the pressure of 108 years without a title was getting to them. The Cubs then turned doubters into believers by winning the next three games and sealing their first trip to the World Series since 1945.

The 2016 World Series might go down as one of the best World Series of all time. The Chicago Cubs took on the AL champions Cleveland Indians. The Indians weren’t favored to make the World Series and upset both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Star pitchers Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller carried the majority of the load for the Indians en route to the World Series.

After four games the Cubs were embarrassed, 3-1 down in the series beaten 7-2 in game four at Wrigley. Everyone and their mother said the Cubs were down and out, but the Cubs refused to be defeated rattling off two wins in a row winning 3-2 in game five and 9-3 in game six to force the winner take all game seven.

This was the game seven to end all game sevens. Dexter Fowler immediately set the tone by hitting a leadoff home run to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. In the middle of the fifth the Cubs had extended the lead further to 5-1 through RBI’s from Anthony Rizzo and Wilson Contreras.

Then in the bottom of the fifth the Cubs pulled star pitcher and NL Cy Young favorite Kyle Hendricks from the game after he walked Carlos Santana-which in all honesty after review on TV he should’ve been struck out on the 2-2 pitch but I digress-and put in on two days rest starter Jon Lester.

Lester, making his first relief appearance since 2007 with the Boston Red Sox, started off slowly allowing Cleveland to get back two runs on a wild pitch that bounced off the ground and hit catcher David Ross in the mask knocking him over. As Jason Kipnis rounded third Lester stood at home plate waiting for the throw from his catcher, Lester missed the tag and just like that the lead was cut to 5-3.

The sixth inning only had one notable moment, but what a moment it was. Thirty-Nine year old catcher David Ross in his final game, hit a solo shot home run over the center field wall putting the Cubs up 6-3 through six.

Then in the bottom of the eighth with the Indians trailing 6-4 Rajai Davis stepped up to the plate. The 35-year old was facing a tired and depleted Aroldis Chapman. Chapman threw his trademark 102 mph bomb for the inside corner of the strike zone and Davis came up huge. With a man on second Davis unleashed a rocket into left field tying the game a 6-6 going into the ninth.

After nine innings the Cubs and Indians were in a deadlock at 6-6. As the 10th inning was about to start a rainstorm came through and the MLB was forced to stop the game for 20 minutes as the rain passed.

During that 20 minutes outfielder Jason Heyward for the Cubs called a meeting. He called his teammates into the strength and conditioning room and told them “I love you guys, I’m proud of you guys, now lets go and get this W”.

After the rain delay the Cubs looked like a team possessed. Coming out with a fury Kyle Schwarber hit a leadoff single and was pulled for pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. Next Kris Bryant rocketed a ball into deep center field but was caught out, although Almora Jr. was smart enough to tag up to first base and then got to second before the Indians could catch him.

Then the Indians did something they thought to be smart at the time. They intentionally walked the red hot Anthony Rizzo. Then Ben Zobrist stepped up to the plate, on the 1-2 pitch Zobrist lasered a ball down the left field line and Almora Jr. took off for home, he scored with ease as Rizzo advanced to third and Zobrist to second. Then the Indians intentionally walked the also red hot Addison Russell. Miguel Montero the same man who hit the NLCS game 1 grand slam winner was tasked with extending the Cubs 10th inning lead, and deliver he did. Montero was able to get a hit in between the shortstop and third baseman and Anthony Rizzo raced home to make the score 8-6. After two failed at bats with the bases loaded the Indians took over.

Tasked with closing the game out was 24-year-old Carl Edwards Jr. Edwards Jr. struck out Napoli and Ramirez grounded out, then Edwards Jr. walked Guyer. Rajai Davis the 8th inning hero got a center field double for Guyer to score and close the lead to one run. The Cubs brought out reliever Mike Montgomery to get the last out of the World Series. Montgomery faced pinch hitter Martinez. Martinez grounded to Kris Bryant, and with a smile on his face, he threw it to best friend Anthony Rizzo to win the Cubs first World Series in 108 years.

The celebration was something else. Tears were shed and a city rejoiced. Cubs fans had waited 108 years for their beloved team to achieve this feat. It was a special moment in sports history. After 71 years the curse was broken. After 71 long years the loveable losers broke the curse and became the loveable winners.

As a lifelong Cubs fan I watched that last inning on my couch at 12:30 in the morning with more anxiety than I have ever faced in my life. And when Anthony Rizzo caught the last ball I fell over and cried. I felt the weight of 108 years come off my chest.

This one was for all the Cubs fans who weren’t around to see it. For my Grandpa Biz who passed away before he could see this. It’s historic and something I nor anyone else will ever forget. The Chicago Cubs, 2016 World Series Champions.