It’s only fitting that the Chicago Cubs finally end their generations of torment in an extra inning, rain-delayed, back and forth, nail-biter Game 7 of the World Series. The game started on Wednesday night, but finished early Thursday morning. Nearly four and a half hours of the most memorable and even one of the best baseball games ever played.
This game was crazy beginning in the first inning. Dexter Fowler hit a leadoff solo home run off of Corey Kluber in the top of the 1st to begin the madness. Kluber had been lights-out this postseason leading up to this game, but that was not the case on Wednesday, Kluber gave up 4 earned runs, six hits, two home runs in only four innings of work, with zero strikeouts and 10 flyball outs, compared to just one groundball out.
The score remained 1-0 Cubs up until the bottom of the third, when the Indians finally struck. Coco Crisp hit a leadoff double, proceeded to take third base on a sacrifice bunt by Roberto Perez, and soon scored on a single by Carlos Santana. Cleveland had a chance to break the game open after a couple of fielding mistakes by the Cubs, but failed to score again that inning, keeping the game tied at 1 a piece.
Chicago wasted no time taking the lead right back in the top of the fourth by scoring two runs. Kris Bryant hit a leadoff single, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the forearm to take one for the team, a sacrifice fly by Addison Russell scored Bryant, and finally a double by Willson Contreras scored Rizzo to take a 3-1 lead.
After a quiet bottom of the fourth inning from Cleveland, the Cubs went on to score another two runs in the top of the fifth. Javier Baez hit a solo shot off of Kluber, therefore ending Kluber’s night. Cleveland brought in Andrew Miller, looking to stop the bleeding, but Bryant took a walk and then scored on a base hit by Rizzo, making it 5-1 going to the bottom of the fifth.
The Indians got a couple runs back to cut the deficit down to 5-3. After Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks walked Santana, manager Joe Maddon took him out to bring in Jon Lester to pitch, also bringing in catcher David Ross. Ross made a throwing error, putting men on second and third. Lester threw a wild pitch, and both runners scored.
Ross, who happened to be playing the final game of his career, hit a solo home run off Miller, making it 6-3 in the top of the sixth. As if the game wasn’t wild enough at this point, old man Grandpa Rossy in Game 7 of the World Series, his final game before retirement, takes Andrew Miller deep. Oh, no. The craziness did not end there.
After an uneventful seventh inning by both teams, the bottom of the eighth was quite the opposite. Maddon brought in his heat-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman to pitch, many expecting him to possibly finish out the game, too. With the score still 6-3 Chicago, there was no way Chapman could cough it up, right? Cleveland’s Brandon Guyer hit an RBI double making it 6-4, and shortly thereafter, Rajai Davis hit a game-tying two-run home run, only adding to the absurdity. Being at home, the Indians had the chance to win on a walk-off if they scored. They did not, forcing the game to go into extra innings tied at 6.
Following the ninth inning, a 17-minute rain delay ensued, taking this one into the early morning hours. The rain delay seemed like a really, really bad thing at the time for both teams, killing any possible momentum or even further tiring players out. That was not the case.
Kyle Schwarber recorded a base hit off reliever Bryan Shaw, making it past the shift to start the inning off. Albert Almora Jr. pinch-ran for Schwarber, taking second base on a Bryant flyout. Cleveland then intentionally walked Rizzo, bringing Ben Zobrist up to the plate. The Indians really had no choice but to walk Rizzo in this situation. Zobrist then hit a double to the opposite field, scoring Almora, taking the lead and never looking back. Cleveland then intentionally walked Russell, and Miguel Montero hit a single to score Chicago’s second run of the inning, making it 8-6.
Despite being three outs away from a Game 7 loss at home, Cleveland still didn’t back down. Davis, who hit that game-tying homer back in the eighth, yet again delivered, this time with a single to score Guyer, cutting the deficit to just 1. That one run just wasn’t enough. Former Red Sox (for like, a week) Michael Martinez hit a soft grounder to Bryant, who tossed it to Rizzo to end the game. For the first time in 39,466 days, the Chicago Cubs are world champions.
The words “Game Seven” are two words that sports fans cannot get enough of. Game 7’s never seem to disappoint. This one in particular was unforgettable. The two teams and their curses, the droughts, the endless stories. It was one of the most anticipated games in the history of baseball, and maybe even sports. It did not, by any means, disappoint. The way this game played out alone is what sports are all about. The back and forth is what made it so special. Neither team wanted it less, nor neither team wanted it more. One team’s misery would end, while one team’s misery will continue on for at least another year.
The series itself was unforgettable, not just the one game. The Indians blowing a 3-1 series lead of their own only adds to the story line. It’s harder to come back from a series deficit like that in baseball rather than basketball, in my opinion, and that makes it even more special. Nobody thought they’d live to see the Cubs win a World Series title, let alone in this fashion. Chicago has found ways to choke any lead away for the past 108 years, but not this time. Whether you were rooting for the Cubs or not, this is an incredible story nonetheless. As a sports fan, this was everything I could have wanted and then some. You will probably always remember where you were when this one was played. You can’t script these things. It’s a classic forever.