Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians is easily one of the best baseball games that’s been played within the last 20 years, and will move towards the top of my list as far as one of the best baseball games I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.
It was a Game 7 that truly had it all. Wacky managerial moves, great desperation, a thrilling comeback, extra innings and a 15-minute rain delay that only added to the suspense.
The added element of this World Series that made this winner-take-all Game 7 that much better was the tortured history of both of these franchises.
The Cleveland Indians were searching for their first World Series since 1948, and for the Chicago Cubs it was the chance to win their first World Series since 1908. for the Cubs, it presented the opportunity to erase Bartman, billy goats and a culture of losing and futility once and for all.
I thought the Cubs were on the verge of adding another chapter of futility towards their history last Wednesday night.
The minute a fatigued Aroldis Chapman surrendered a game-tying, two-run homer to Rajai Davis in the bottom half of the 8th inning, it felt like another one of those “here we go again” moments.
These sort of moments are the worst for a tortured franchise and fan base, but they’re almost necessary if you are about to reverse history.
The Red Sox had to be down 3-0 to the Yankees before they won their first title since 1908; the Cavaliers had to be down 3-1 to the Warriors before rallying to win three straight and the city’s first title since 1964; and the same sort of dire picture needed to be painted for the Chicago Cubs.
They were down three games to one to a very gritty Cleveland Indians team, but they responded. They tied the series, they built a four-run lead in Game 7, and just like that it was gone.
Not only did the lead vanish, but the Cubs had burned their starter Kyle Hendricks, their bulldog Jon Lester and their closer.
The deck was stacked against them heading to the 9th inning and into extra innings, but the extra frame showed us the big difference in the series.
The Cubs lineup despite it’s feast or famine nature throughout the postseason is one of the most dynamic in all of baseball.
It’s versatile, it’s powerful and it’s tough to hold down for a long period of time.
With studs Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo due to bat as the game went to extra innings, the Cubs had the guys you want up with the season on the line.
They regrouped in extra innings and put together a 10th inning rally that will be remembered on the North Side of Chicago forever.
The heart of the order found a way, postseason hero Ben Zobrist delivered and for the first time since 1908, and the Chicago Cubs were World Champions.
The scary part for the rest of baseball is that it’s about to become the first of many.
The Chicago Cubs are not going anywhere.
They have a great general manager in Theo Epstein, who has now broken the curse of the Bambino in Boston and the curse of the Billy Goat in Chicago.
They have a wacky, innovative and player friendly manager in Joe Maddon, who certainly had a bizarre World Series but is universally regarded as one of baseball’s best managers.
Their talent is through the roof, with a young lineup that will have Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Wilson Contreras and Javier Baez entering the prime years of their careers.
In addition to all of those studs, they’ll have a full season of Kyle Schwarber coming back from his torn ACL.
And yes, the Cubs had the best starting rotation in all of baseball in 2016.
It’s a team that is built for long term success, and now that the monkey is off the team’s back, I only anticipate it will make things that much easier for the Cubbies.
If the team can deal with the pressure of not winning a title in over 100 years and they can overcome a 3-1 deficit in the World Series, what’s another World Series or two?
It’s the Cubbies world folks, and even though Marty McFly thought 2015 was going to be the year, he and Doc Brown should anticipate to see a lot more titles as they drive that Delorean into the future.
You can listen to me on Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM.
Week 10 Unlocks of the Week (19-16 ATS)
• New Orleans -1.5
• Pittsburgh -2.5
• Cincinnati +2.5
• Seattle +7.5
• Carolina -3