“Go, Cubs, Go,
Go, Cubs, Go.
Hey, Chicago, what do you say,
The Cubs are gonna win today…”
For 108 years, the dream of winning a World Series title and breaking out in one spine-tingling rendition of “Go Cubs Go” was exactly that: a dream. On Wednesday, November 2, that dream finally became reality when the most curse-stricken franchise in any sport, ever, finally ended the longest championship drought in North American sporting history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the series and beating the Cleveland Indians.
Cubs fans have endured every kind of heartbreak imaginable. Between World Series titles, Chicago won the National League pennant seven times only to fall at the final hurdle in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945. They dealt with the Curse of the Billy Goat, missing out on the playoffs in 1969 after contriving to throw away a nearly insurmountable division lead over the season’s last month. They went to the National League Championship Series in 1984 and 1989 only to come up short. The Cubbies had two chances to clinch the pennant at Wrigley Field in the 2003 NLCS, only for Steve Bartman to interfere before the Cubs spiraled out of control. They were swept by the New York Mets in October 2015.
Generations of Cubs fans were born, lived long, full lives, and never experienced anything but disappointment while supporting their ball club. Since the Cubs last won a World Series, two World Wars have been fought; women in the United States gained the right to vote; the Civil Rights Movement was waged and brought about change in the United States; and 18 different presidents have taken residence in the White House.
The series see-sawed back and forth as the Cubs took Game 2 on the road, only to see the Indians win Games 3 and 4 at Wrigley Field, leaving them with three chances to clinch the World Series. Two offensive outbursts later, the Cubs had earned a Game 7 opportunity at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
In Game 7, the Cubs’ self-belief was evident from the start as Dexter Fowler belted a leadoff home run. Yet, there was still fight left in the Indians, and an RBI single from Carlos Santana made things 1-1 in the third inning. Sadly for the Indians, Corey Kluber, who was stellar throughout the entire postseason, did not have one last magic outing in his right arm. The Cubs scratched out two runs in the fourth inning to chase the Cleveland ace, and in the top of the fifth the North Siders extended the lead to 5-1.
Cleveland wouldn’t go away. The Indians responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth after a dreadful wild pitch from Jon Lester. The heads-up baserunning turned the tide of the game, and brought the home crowd back to life. Just moments later, the rollercoaster that was this baseball game took another unexpected twist when 39-year-old catcher David Ross, who had announced Game 7 would be his last before retiring, uncorked a rocket over the center field fence.
The game continued with fewer and fewer outs remaining for the Indians, who trailed 6-3. Finally, Cubs manager Joe Maddon played his trump card, bringing in Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Cleveland wasn’t cowed. The Indians rattled off three straight hits culminating with a bomb off the bat of Rajai Davis to send the game to the ninth all tied up.
After the end of the ninth inning, which left the fans begging for more, the grounds crew threw a curveball to all watching the game by pausing proceedings for a rain delay. After the tarp came off, the Cubs unleashed one last offensive assault which produced two runs on hits from Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero. The Indians could only scratch one more run across in the bottom half of the tenth, and the Cubs found themselves celebrating their first World Series title since the Theodore Roosevelt administration. They did so at the end of the most incredible Game 7 in quite some time. It was a game befitting the occasion. Go, Cubs, Go indeed.