October is a big month for sports fans everywhere. College football and the NFL are well underway, the NBA is just getting started and for me, the best of all, HOCKEY season is upon us.
In the midst of it all, however, is America’s pastime, which seems to take a back seat to everything else in the wide, world of sports.
This year, however, baseball fans were treated to an amazing gift. Two of the teams with the longest World Series droughts, faced off against each other in an epic battle that stretched the full seven games. Even better, the two teams are pretty much neighbors!
The Cleveland Indians have not won the title since 1948 when they defeated the Boston Braves in six games. That series was the first to be televised on a nationwide network.
The Chicago Cubs on the other hand, have had to endure the longest stretch without a championship in all of professional sports; 108 years. Over a century! Their last championship came at the hands of my beloved Detroit Tigers. While the Tigers won it all in 1968 and 1984, the Cubs World Series hopes went dormant following that season.
Long known as the lovable losers, I have always said that the Cubs didn’t have to win the World Series because their fans are so dedicated that they will ALWAYS fill the stands, so why even try to win it all!
Of course, that snarkiness may have something to do with the fact that I have never liked the Cubs. Growing up, my best friend and neighbor loved the Cubs. At that time, I was not really a Tigers fan, but I sure defended the Tigers every time we had a baseball discussion. You live in Michigan, so you should support your home state team! That was my thinking anyway.
He was a devoted Cubbie. So devoted, in fact, I swear he had ivy growing out of his hair follicles. The Cubs, in his opinion, were the best. They had “The Hawk” (Andre Dawson), Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace and they played all their home games during the day! That was before they had the lights installed. He could spout facts and figures that many broadcasters never mentioned.
The one thing I liked about the Cubs: Harry Caray! The man was a legend and so fun to listen too. I also enjoyed Will Ferrell’s impression of him on Saturday Night Live!
My childhood angst over the Cubs has been with me my entire life. I have never wanted them to win and would cheer every time they lost. Aside from the Yankees and Red Sox, the Cubs are the only other team that I hoped would never win a World Series ever again! Petty? Of course!
When the Cubs made it to the World Series this year, I was actually excited. No, not for them. Don’t be silly! But I was excited for the series between these two teams. The match up, in my opinion, is one of the best in a long time, if not ever.
Yes, there have been some classics, including the infamous subway series between the two New York teams and the Battle of the Bay between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, among others. But this pairing, the two teams with such long and frustrating dry spells as it relates to winning it all, was just too good NOT to be happy about.
I will admit, when the Indians secured their 3-1 series lead, I felt pretty comfortable that things would go my way and the Indians would capture the crown. Ironically, the managers, Francona and Madden, are two people I had long hoped would guide the Tigers.
Having the series go down to the wire, literally, was amazing. Game seven was a fantastic, nail-biting, heart-thumping game for both sides.
Seeing former Tiger Rajai Davis hit that game-tying three run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning and watching the crowd go wild, well, it just doesn’t get better than that. Actually it does, because it was the Cubs that came back after a rain delay in the 10th inning to retake the lead and win the game.
Even though the Cubs won, I am pretty cool with it. I know what it is like to cheer for the losing team. I know that desire of wanting my team to win it all. The Tigers have won in my lifetime, but I was not really paying attention to them in 1984, so I am still waiting to experience that feeling for myself. On the other hand, 108 years……how can you NOT feel at least a little joy for those who have stuck with their team through it all and the Cubs have some of the most loyal and dedicated fans in world.
HOLY COW~ Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs, their players and fans. It is a great accomplishment that was over a century in the making. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Embrace it.
Hopefully it will be another 108 years before the next one. Just kidding. Kind of.
Submitted by Mark McGlothlen