THE Cubs are the baseball champions of the world. As the great Harry Caray would certainly have said, holy cow! It has most assuredly been a long time coming for the north siders. Over a century to be exact. But they finally got the job done, completing a comeback against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night to win their first World Series since long before the vast majority of humans on the planet were born. I saw an info graphic during the game that noted that Mark Twain was actually alive the last time the Cubs won the World Series – can you believe that? Mark Twain! It has, without doubt, been a long time.
Personally I was torn about the whole thing. I have strong rooting interests on the Indians. As a Red Sox fan I have plenty of love for Cleveland manager Terry Francona as well as Mike Napoli and Andrew Miller. I do not feel the same loyalty toward the Cubs president Theo Epstein or their pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey. I do have to admit it was nice to see David Ross, hero of the Red Sox 2013 World Series win, hit a home run in what should have been the final at bat of his career. He got up one more time, walked, and was removed for a pinch runner. I suppose that is a good way to end a career, but leaving after the home run would certainly have been cooler.
Getting sidetracked on Ross-y aside, let us get back to the point. The Cubs, those lovable losers from Chicago, have won the World Series. It is a little strange to me, a guy who has loved baseball for the majority of his life, to know that I live in a time where I have witnessed World Series wins for both the Red Sox and the Cubs. I guess it would be fitting if the Indians could somehow win one soon. With Chicago’s victory, Cleveland’s 68-season drought is now the longest in the game. Of course, that is about 40 years shy of the mark the Cubs were sitting on, so I guess fans of the Tribe have a ways to go before they can claim to be as long suffering as the fans of the team that beat them last night.
While I am no fan of Epstein, I have to take my hat off to him for the job he has done in Chicago. He came in five years ago with a plan that he executed to perfection. In the process he earned the right to call himself the architect of the teams that ended the two most notable World Series droughts in the history of the game. Think about that. Fifteen years ago, if you had told a baseball fan that one man was going to guide both the Red Sox and the Cubs to World Series titles, they probably would have said you were crazy. But one guy did and for that reason alone, he will end up in the Hall of Fame.
The Cubs are the world champions and we are entering a brave new baseball world. Not only did they win the title, but they appear to be loaded for more. There is plenty of young talent in Chicago and it would not be surprising to see them back in the fall classic next October. The lovable losers are not only now the winners but they might just be the best team in baseball. We all have five months to wrap our heads around this fact and prepare ourselves for their 2017 victory lap, one that has been 108 years in the making.