Rain delay helps end sports’ longest championship drought

By James Payne – 1851 Staff

Steve Bartman, please show us your face again. You have been forgiven.

An achievement that nobody thought could ever be done, has been done. And no, I’m not talking about flying cars or time travel (although, “Back to the Future” almost predicted this feat with their time travel).

I’m talking about the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series. 108 years of goats, black cats, misery and waiting has come to an end. The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, and today they are parading around Chicago to celebrate.

The Cubs had no life in Game 1, and then again looked down and out when they trailed the series 3-1 and faced elimination at home. Had the Cubbies lost Game 5 at famed Wrigley Field, the history would have continued. Instead, the Indians lack of starting pitching came back to bite them. The Cubs were able to jump on the starting pitchers on short rest and wore the bullpen out by the time Game 6 and 7 came around.

Corey Kluber, former A.L. Cy Young Winner, had the Cubs number for Game 1 and Game 4 but it did not take long in Game 7 for the Cubs to jump on him. The leadoff hitter in fact, Dexter Fowler, took Kluber deep for a 1-0 lead. Kyle Hendricks cruised through 4.2 innings for the Cubs, only allowing one run before being prematurely (in the eyes of some) taken out. Former Red Sox pitcher and already two time World Series Champion Jon Lester came in with a 5-1 lead which quickly became 5-3 after a wild pitch. 39-year-old David Ross, in his final ever game, made it 6-3 with a solo homerun to deep center field in the top of the 6th. Some thought that was all she wrote at that point and the Cubs would easily close it out. Not the case.

In the bottom of the 8th, Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman took the hill with a runner on first. From there, with two swings of the bat, the game was tied at 6. Chapman gave up an RBI double and then a two-run homerun to Rajai Davis, only the 55th of Davis’ career. 6-6 heading into the 9th, Cleveland had all the momentum.

A blown save from one of the best closers in the game and then an Indians walk-off hit would’ve fit perfectly in the Cubs history of losing. No runs for either side in the 9th and to extra innings the game went.

Pause. The heavens decided to open up and have their say. What better time for a rain delay than right before the 10th inning in Game 7 of a historical World Series? Fans from Cleveland have waited 68 years. Cubs’ fans have waited their lifetimes. So what’s another 17 minutes to wait for a World Series to end?

This might have been the most pivotal 17 minutes in the Cubs season. Cubs’ right fielder Jason Heyward called a team meeting during the delay and told his teammates, “We’re the best team, we’re going to win this.” Sure enough, Heyward was right. After a Ben Zobrist RBI double and a Miguel Montero RBI single, the Cubs would be on their way.

Ancient Cubs fans who have waited longer than any of us can one day peacefully go to their graves with smiles on their faces. Bill Murray, Vince Vaughan and the rest of the North Side of Chicago, you can wake up from your nightmares. You are not dreaming anymore. This is real life and next spring there will be a ring ceremony at Wrigley Field.


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