Maybe it’s the adrenaline that hasn’t dropped since the end of an incredible game 7, but right now, it seems that due to a number of factor, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians closing out the 2016 World Series in the most dramatic of fashions could be the biggest game in MLB history.
How come? Well, the obvious reason is it ended with the Cubs, one of the more popular franchises in the league, winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years. Yes, it ends the most famous “curse” in sports, but it’s also the best sports story in 2016. For the last two weeks we’ve constantly heard about all the things that have happened since the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. They weren’t even playing in Wrigley Field back then. Now those “stats” are gone, and if the Boston Red Sox are any indication, the moment the curse ends, great things happen. Obviously, there’s also the Chicago White Sox example, so who knows?
But it wasn’t just the ending that made it great. Everything about this game built up to an incredible crescendo, with a smiling Kris Bryant throwing the final out, and Anthony Rizzo pocketing the ball in his back pocket. The Indians were also on the verge of ending a 68 year wait. They had a 3-1 lead in the series. And they collapsed, making the finale even bigger. Their two best players, Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller, consistent and terrific throughout the postseason, couldn’t deliver when it mattered the most.
There was the hanging sense of doom the Cubs had to deal with. When their 5-1 lead suddenly broke, and when Aroldis Chapman, worn out and not supposed to be on the mound in this game, gave up a two-run homer to Rajai Davis, the color was sucked out of Joe Maddon’s face. Every Cubs fan in the stadium (and there were a lot of them) put hands on their head and looked in disbelief. It looked like it was slipping away from them.
But it didn’t. Chapman made it through somehow after almost making the wrong kind of history, and then Carl Edwards and Mike Montgomery finished the job in the 10th inning, while Ben Zobrist clinched his MVP with an RBI double that put the Cubs in the lead for good. As they said on TV, “8-7 in 10”. And the fact that the game went to extra innings, and the rain delay. Everything that happened made the final game of the 2016 MLB season more and more epic. The perfect ending to an incredible season, not just because of the Cubs finally having their happy ending, but because of everything that happened through four hours and 28 minutes at Progressive Field, mixing in the joy and the sadness, always necessary ingredient for a complete, epic, historic picture.