Whether you watched as a Cubs fan, an Indians fan, a diehard baseball fan or not a fan at all, you witnessed history Wednesday night when Chicago defeated Cleveland in an exciting Game 7, ending their 108-year drought.
In my lifetime, there have been six Game 7’s, five of which I can actually remember. Though I’m sure my dad had me in the room watching the 1997 World Series, I was two years old at the time and my memory is not good enough to talk about the Marlins Indians series firsthand. I’ll spare you all the “do or die,” “one game season” or “greatest two words in sports” clichés that come with elimination games and instead look back on some of the Game 7’s of my lifetime, and how they compared to Wednesday.
2001: the Arizona Diamondbacks take the first two of the World Series against the New York Yankees. The Yankees rallied back with three straight wins, forcing a Game 7 after Arizona tied it in Game 6. Nov. 4th a ring on the line, Arizona goes into the bottom of the ninth down a run. Tony Womack steps up to face Mariano Rivera with two on and one out. Womack hits a line drive double, sending in the tying run. Skip a batter and Luis Gonzalez hits one into centerfield, allowing Jay Bell to come into home and give the Diamondbacks a come from behind ninth inning World Series victory. That Sunday night, over 39 million people tuned in to see Arizona win their first World Series.
Two years ago, the Giants and the Royals matched up for San Francisco’s even year World Series run. After just three days rest, Madison Bumgarner came in for the Giants in the bottom of the fifth. He proceeded to throw five scoreless innings, pitching his way to an MVP award. In five innings, Bumgarner gave up just two hits, striking out four. The Giants defeated the Royals in a low scoring, 3-2 game. As exciting as offensive games are, with hits driving in runs back and forth, sometimes the best games are pitching games. Game 7 in 2014 had no runs scored after the fourth, providing edge of your seat content for more than half of the game.
That brings us to 2016. After getting our teeth kicked in by the Cleveland Indians, I joined the Roll Tribe squad despite the Cubs incredible story. In reality, I was a neutral fan hoping for good baseball, maybe some extra innings to postpone the end of the season as long as possible. My prayers were answered and then some. Wednesday night was without a doubt the most stressed I have ever been over a game I claimed to be neutral over. I wanted to see Tito succeed, to see more pictures of Nap slugging fireball. But as the game went on and the Cubs lost their dangerous lead, I found myself anxious for Chicago, for the 90+ year old fans hoping to see just one championship, for the young Cubs roster who played an incredible regular season of baseball that couldn’t just end there. The Cubs got hot early, going up 5-1 in five innings. The Indians answered with two runs, before the Cubs tacked on another from David Ross. The seventh inning was a lull the quiet before the storm. Cleveland’s 8th inning rally with a two run homer from Rajai Davis (UConn Avery Point stand up) to tie things up. The ninth inning came and went, bringing us to extras. Ben Zobrist’s 10th inning double brought in a run to put the Cubs ahead, and helped him to earn MVP. The Cubs and Indians would each add one more before the bottom of the 10th when Anthony Rizzo fielded a ground ball with perhaps the biggest smile on his face to end the game, and end the curse.
This game had everything: a great story, hot offense, monster rallies, David Ross going deep off Andrew Miller in his retirement game, a rain delay, extra innings and a historical ending. Over 40 million people tuned in to Fox to watch the roller coaster that was Game 7 of the World Series, the most viewers a World Series game has had in my lifetime. Come from behind last inning wins and pitching battles are exciting, but aren’t even on the same level as this Cubs Indians game.
Wednesday’s game will go down in history as not only one of the best Game 7’s of all time, but as one of the greatest moments in all of baseball history.