Game 7 of the World Series, Bottom of the 8th, two outs, Cleveland Indians Outfielder Rajai Davis up to bat, down two with a man on first facing Chicago Cubs Closing Pitcher Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs only needed four more outs to become World Series Champions, but it seemed too good to be true. Cubs fans know that it is never over until the final out is made. It was not over as Rajai Davis took an Aroldis Chapman fastball to deep left field. Gone. Game-tying home run for the Indians. Progressive Field broke into a state of pandemonium, while Cubs fan
s everywhere stared at their TVs in disbelief. This cannot be happening.
The momentum had suddenly shifted heavily in the Indians favor, and no one knew if the Cubs could rebound. But, this Cubs team is different than the Cubs teams of the past. These Cubs scored four runs in the top of the 9th to comeback against the Giants and advance to the NLCS. These Cubs won three games in a row after being down 2-1 to the Dodgers to make the World Series. These Cubs had won two in a row to force a decisive Game 7 after being down 3-1 against the Indians. If anyone could respond to a gut punch like Davis’ home run, it was these Cubs.
After a scoreless ninth inning, a rain delay, seemingly sent from the man upstairs himself, halted the game for 17 minutes. This is when a players only meeting was called, an unprecedented move for a rain delay. Cubs Right Fielder Jason Heyward was the leader of this meeting, inspiring the team by reminding them that they are the best team in baseball, that they would win this game, and that they would never give up. In multiple interviews, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said he walked past the meeting during the delay and after hearing a few of the inspirational words, knew they would win. These Cubs could do it.
The top of the tenth was led off with a base hit by none other than Designated Hitter Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber was replaced on the bags by Cubs rookie Outfielder, Albert Almora Jr. With no outs and Almora on first, Cubs star Third Baseman Kris Bryant sent a deep fly ball to right-center field, allowing Almora to tag from first advancing to second and bringing First Baseman Anthony Rizzo to the plate. The Indians wanted no part in Rizzo, intentionally walking him to bring up veteran Outfielder Ben Zobrist, who had been on fire in the World Series. On a 1-2 count, Zobrist doubled down the left field line, giving the Cubs a one run lead. Another run was tacked on in the inning from a Miguel Montero single, giving the Cubs an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the 10th, only three outs away from their first World Series championship since 1908.
Two outs, a man on first, Michael Martinez up to bat, down 8-7 facing Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery. On a 0-1 curveball, Martinez bounced a weak chopper to Bryant. Bryant to Rizzo. Ball game. As the ball entered Rizzo’s glove, something amazing happened. A whole city full of diehard fans felt something they had never felt before. Through all the bad Cubs teams, all the postseason heartbreaks, through 108 years, it happened. No more billygoat curse, no more Steve Bartman, it all disappeared. Loveable losers no more. The Cubs are World Series Champions. This was the year. This was the team. In one of the greatest World Series games of all time… they did it.