What a game. What a series. What an unbelievable way to put a period behind the 2016 Major League Baseball season.
After a 108-year drought, the Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions.
When Ben Zobrist’s 10th-inning double off Bryan Shaw broke a 6-6 tie, the Cubs were on their way to an 8-7, Game 7 win that was an instant classic. Chicago looked to have the game fully under control with an early 5-1 lead. Leading 6-3 in the eighth, just four outs from their first title since Brett Favre was 14 years old, Cubs manager summoned his ace reliever Aroldis Chapman.
And that's when things got really fun. Chapman, running off of fumes after his coaching staff showed over the last few days that they were willing to let him throw until his arm fell off, proceeded to surrender a run-scoring double to Cleveland's Brandon Guyer.
That opened the door to the most dramatic moment of this remarkable series, when Rajai Davis homered to left field, tying the game at 6.
One of the most looked forward to games in recent memory more than lived up to the hype. Just when you thought the game was heading in one direction, in went an entirely different way. It might not be the best World Series game ever played, but it was the greatest one that I've ever seen.
I knew we were in for something special from the moment that Dexter Fowler led the game off by sending the Indians' ace pitcher Corey Kluber's pitch over the centerfield fence. Cleveland tied it up in the third inning. Kluber has been phenomenal throughout the postseason with an 0.89 ERA, but the Cubs touched him up to take a 3-1 lead when Willson Contreras doubled to score Zobrist in the top of the fourth.
Javier Baez knocked Kluber, who allowed six hits and four runs over four innings and didn’t strike out a batter, out of the game for good with his home run to center to lead off the fifth.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks looked to be wheeling and dealing when Joe Maddon decided to replace him with Jon Lester, a move that was immediately second-guessed. And sure enough, Lester was not sharp, throwing a two-run wild pitch after an error by catcher David Ross that also led to two runs by the Indians.
Ross made amends by homering off of Andrew Miller, who was bringing some serious heat, setting the stage for the fireworks and drama that would keep many folks up until the early morning Thursday hours.
For nearly five hours, we were treated to the thrills and chills of a roller coaster ride that ultimately ended with the Cubs climbing out of a 3-1 series deficit to finally win it all.
And with General Manager Theo Epstein breaking the long curses suffered by both the Red Sox and the Cubs, I'm thinking that his next professional challenge in curse breaking lies in the corporate offices of Madison Square Garden, where he can help my New York Knicks shake loose their long-held losing demons.
It's late, I'm tired, and will pay for staying up to watch Game 7. But I'm glad I did. Baseball reminded everyone why it's such a great sport with this series. It's a shame that any of these teams had to lose. Because they both delivered a big win for Major League Baseball.
So now that we've got that out of the way, maybe we'll see another great Eddie Murphy movie one day soon. And a Knicks championship can't be far behind. If there's anything that Cubs fans will tell you, no matter how long it takes, it's alright to dream. Because at some point, they just might come true.