Some thoughts on the World Series win last night. As a lifelong Cubs fan, it wasn’t what I expected.
I don’t know how I feel about the win. It was weird. I wasn’t jumping up and down, screaming and yelling like I thought I would (partly because my boys were already in bed). The game was definitely one for the ages. As a baseball fan, if you’re going to have a 7th game of the World Series, that was the one to have (though Bill Mazeroski might argue otherwise). But, once it was over, I was left with an overwhelming feeling of, “Well, now what?” The Cubs have always been the Lovable Losers™, the doormat of the National League (RIP, Steve Goodman). The rallying cry at Wrigleyville has always been, “Next year!” Cubs fans wore those 108 years as a badge of honor, a common heritage of futility passed down from generation to generation. I’ve been to one Cubs game at Wrigley Field in my life, and they lost to the Rockies. I’ve often said that if the Cubs had won it wouldn’t have been a complete experience. Are the Cubs just a normal team now?
Ultimately, I don’t think this win has anything to do with 108 years, despite the hype. What makes this victory special is a hard working group of guys—a team—that believed in each other and never gave up. Down 3-1 in the Series, they never let the weight of history give them an excuse to fail. And, despite the blown save, I still give Aroldis Chapman the game ball.* Sure, he blew the save and let the Indians back in the game in the 8th, but he came back in and pitched the 9th, when the Cubs had nobody to put in the game. He sent the Indians down in order and kept the score tied. He gave the Cubs a shot.
This was a great night, but I’m still not at peace with it. I can’t bring myself to sing Go, Cubs, Go! when all my life I’ve been singing A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request. I think I still need a little time. I think I’ll put in my Steve Goodman CD, drink a six-pack of Old Style, and let it sink in.
*Chapman gets the game ball, but Kyle Schwarber gets the MVP in my book, if not for his hits, but for what his return meant to the team. It was his single in the top of the 10th that got the rally started. Without Schwarber, Zobrist doesn’t get the biggest double in baseball history (baseball loves hyperbole). Sure, there were guys with better numbers, and baseball is, after all, a game of numbers. And clutch hits that score runs and win big games are exciting. But it’s still a game, played by people, not stat books. And I don’t know if the Cubs win the series without Schwarber.