It happened! Cubs win ends World Series drought
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Third baseman Kris Bryant started to smile even before he fielded the ball. And with his throw to first for the final out, the agonizing wait 'til next year was over.
Legions of fans have waited a lifetime. The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions.
It ended more than a century of flops, futility and frustration. The Cubs won their first title since 1908. They beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings of a Game 7 thriller. The game was played in Cleveland. It did not end until early Thursday.
The Cubs and their fans even had to endure an extra-inning rain delay to end the drought.
"It happened. It happened. Chicago, it happened," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said after gloving the ball for the final out. "We did it. We're world champions. I can't believe it."
Rizzo put that final ball in his pocket as the Cubs piled up in the middle of the diamond. Catcher David Ross got carried off the field by his teammates. And comedian Bill Murray partied in the clubhouse.
The Cubs have been lovable losers for generations. They nearly let this one get away, too. All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman blew a 6-3 lead with two outs in the eighth. That's when the Indians' Rajai Davis hit a tying, two-run home run.
But the Cubs came right back. They won the game after a 17-minute rain delay before the top of the 10th.
Series MVP Ben Zobrist hit an RBI double and Miguel Montero singled home a run to make it 8-6. Davis delivered an RBI single with two outs in the bottom half. But Mike Montgomery closed it out at 12:47 a.m. And the celebration was on.
Manager Joe Maddon's Cubs halted the longest stretch without a title in baseball. They also became the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
"This is an epic game. It's epic. I can't believe we were able to do it. A hundred and eight years in the making," Zobrist said. "We did it."
Cleveland was trying to win its first crown since 1948. But manager Terry Francona's club lost the last two games at home.
Zobrist got a Series-high 10 hits. They came a year after he helped the Royals win the championship. Zobrist was among the players brought to the Cubs by Theo Epstein. He is the baseball executive who added another crown to his collection. He also assembled the Red Sox team that broke Boston's 86-year drought. They won the World Series in 2004.
"We don't need a plane to fly home," Epstein said. "It's fitting it's got to be done with one of the best games of all time."
While Cubs fans hugged with delight, there was only despair for the Indians. Now they are the team that has gone longer than anyone without a crown.
"It's going to hurt. It hurts because we care. But they need to walk with their head held high because they left nothing on the field," Francona said.
The Cubs defeated San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs. Chicago became the first team to earn a title by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Twenty-one other teams had won the World Series since the Cubs last were champions. They reached the top again on the 39,466th day after Orval Overall's three-hit shutout won the 1908 finale at Detroit. That game only took 1 hour, 24 minutes. This latest Game 7 lasted 4:24. And that did not include the rain delay.
In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was president. New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states. And the first Ford Model T car was two weeks old.
The Cubs had not even reached the Series since 1945.
"It was just an epic battle," Zobrist said. "Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out. The Indians never gave up, either, and I can't believe we're finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy."
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are baseball games delayed by rain, but football games are not?
Write your answers in the comments section below