The goat is dead and gone and Steve Bartman is redeemed. After 108 years the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series. Is it shocking? Well, since the club hasn’t won it all in over a century maybe. I mean, it’s the Cubs right? Not to rain on their parade but this team was built for this. From a solid rotation that featured 5 starting pitchers that were in the top 20 in qualified National League ERA; we’re talking about two Cy Young candidates in Lester and Hendricks, last year’s Cy Young winner in Jake Arrieta and finally John Lackey and Jason Hammel who are possibly the best fourth and fifth starters in the league. The team was also a defensive juggernaut with 82 defensive runs saved, San Francisco was second with only 50 defensive runs saved; this postseason the world was introduced to Javier Baez, who was an absolute wizard in the middle of the infield. The team’s lineup, led by MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo featured a nice balance of contact and power as well, with contact and speed in Fowler and Zobrist and power in Contreras, Russell and Soler. A shame Jason Heyward didn’t show up this season at the plate, however his defense was still elite. And with a manager like Joe Maddon and an executive like Theo Epstein, this team was meant for this and were the best team this season with 103 wins.
What about Cleveland though? For this team to make it to a game 7 in the world series is a little baffling, without one of their better players in Michael Brantley, their number two and three starters in Carrasco and Salazar (Salazar did return in a diminished bullpen role in the playoffs.) You really have to commend the job that Terry Francona did and how great Andrew Miller was for them in high-leverage situations with thirty strikeouts in only nineteen innings pitched and a crispy .88 WHIP, although his worst game came at the wrong time in game seven. And I was also pretty impressed with Josh Tomlin doing as well as he did this postseason, it was obvious that Kluber was going to be elite but Tomlin did a pretty commendable job behind him, Bauer not so much.
Game 7 featured a ton of drama, with Fowler silencing the crowd with a lead-off homer and David Ross hitting a home-run off in his last game against Andrew freaking Miller. To Davis bringing Cleveland back, hitting a two-run shot off of Cubs closer Chapman. To a weird rain-delay that might have eased the tension for the Cubs and allowed them to get to Shaw at the top of the tenth inning. Davis hitting another RBI to make it a one-run game and finally Mike Montgomery closed the game out for the Cubs, finally winning it all in 108 years. Just insane.
Now for the fun stuff… isn’t weird how there’s 108 stitches on a baseball and that’s how many years it took the Cubs to finally win their third world series in 108 years? How about Cleveland being involved in two championships this season where a team blew a 3-1 game lead and lost game 7 at home. And the trade deadline really changed the fate of both teams with the Cubs acquiring Chapman and Montgomery, who were arguably the most important arms in their bullpen and Cleveland who got Andrew Miller and Coco Crisp, who in Miller was an absolute force and momentum stopper and Crisp who was pretty clutch a veteran presence and a decent replacement for Michael Brantley.
And the videos to come after have been awesome, to people crying and elderly people who have spent decades in misery watching their team lose year after year. Of course drunk idiots spoil the sentiment, they present a weird duality that still make things entertaining.
I love this guy, that’ll probably be me when my Dodgers finally win it. Ugh.
This is freaking Bananaville over here. Wild.
Theo is my boy for this one.
Finally, Steve Bartman; you are redeemed sir.