Worth the wait

November 3, 2016

Forget the billy goat. Forget Bartman. The curse has been broken. After 108 years of torment, the wait is finally over for The North Side. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in extra innings Wednesday night en route to a World Series title, their first since 1908. 108 years of heartbreak over after one more gut-wrenching night for the historically starved fans, organization and city.

Known as the “loveable losers” for over a century, the World Series drought was one of the longest in the history of professional sports, and tied itself to unparalleled curses, unrivaled misfortune. The road to a postseason berth, therefore, would take a generational team. In 2014, the Cubs finished with a record of 73-89, well short of the postseason. Such a quick turnaround can be credited to one of the best farm systems in baseball and the magical president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who also helped the long-maligned Red Sox in breaking their own curse twelve years ago.

This year, several prospects turned into consistent contributors, including Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez.

In the World Series, the Cubs faced a 3-1 deficit. What would ensue was a comeback of epic proportions; a storybook ending to a horror novel for the Cubs faithful.

Starters Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks helped the club win three straight to defeat the Indians, even though none of them pitched past the sixth inning.

After Chicago entered the eighth inning with a 6-3 lead in the all-important game seven, Cleveland was quick to tie it after a 2-run home run by Rajai Davis. Aftera 17 minute rain delay, the Chicago bats came alive once more. Kyle Schwarber hit a leadoff single, and Albert Almora Jr. came in to pinch run. After advancing to second on a sacrifice fly by Kris Bryant and an intentional walk to Anthony Rizzo, Almora scored on an RBI double from Ben Zobrist, putting the Cubs up 7-6 in the top of the 10th. After tacking on one more run,  the Cubs closed it out to win 8-7.

What would follow was absolute pandemonium. 13 people were arrested and 25 more were hospitalized while celebrating the moment, obviously finding it hard to come to terms with the seemingly impossible. The thing is, though, that the difference between this Cubs team and the Lovable Losers that have defined this franchise’s history is that this team made the impossible, possible. The improbable: probable. This Cubs team flew the W when it mattered most.

So, the wait is finally over. The main school district in Chicago will close its schools tomorrow, and the Windy City will continue to try their best at coming to grips with what the 2016 Cubs did, and under the circumstances in which they did it. This was a story that will never be replicated. This is a story that will never be forgotten in Chicago. Maybe, just maybe, it was worth the wait.

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