108-Year Wait Over for Cubs Fans
By Austin Anderson
As I am preparing for my career aspirations of being a professional communicator, I realize that being biased towards the team you root for may be ill advised.
But for one moment, one historical moment, I will revert back to my roots of being a die-hard Chicago sports enthusiast.
For the last few summers, my family would visit numerous Major League parks. In the summer of 2014, my father and I decided to take a trip out to Des Moines, Iowa, to watch the Iowa Cubs play three games.
Even though my father is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan, he knew the importance to me, a life-long Chicago Cubs fan, to see emerging stars like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant as they represented hope to a non-competitive franchise.
A month later, Baez made an impression for the Chicago Cubs by hitting three home runs in as many games. The debuts of Jorge Soler, Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber followed within the next year, and by the middle of the 2015 campaign, it was apparent that the Chicago Cubs were competitors for years to come.
Even though the Chicago Cubs were eight wins short of the title in 2015, Cubs fans were happy for their best season since 2003, and they were ready to expect more in the following year.
The anticipation of winning the World Series in 2016 became evident after the month of April, in which the Cubs won 24 of their first 30 decisions.
As expected, besides a dip in July, the Cubs played spectacular baseball and clinched the division in early September. The beginning of the postseason was well anticipated, and the Cubs had to deal with adversity in every series leading up to the World Series.
In the NLDS, the Cubs nearly were forced to a do-or-die Game Five, but a ninth inning four-run rally against the San Francisco Giants sent the Cubs to the NLCS for the second straight year.
In the NLCS, the Cubs overcame being shut out twice in Games Two and Game Three by winning three straight to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.
In the World Series, the Cubs needed to win Games Five, Six and Seven in order to finally lift the curse that has haunted this Cubs franchise for over a century. After strong wins in Games Five and Six, Game Seven certainly didn’t disappoint.
In a series that two teams are hoping their drought would end, the Cubs were poised to take the title in nine innings, as four outs separated them from the title. But that was not meant to be, as the Indians rallied for three runs down off stud closer – and trade deadline acquisition – Aroldis Chapman.
But what makes this Cubs team different than the previous 107 editions is the ability to fight back.
A much-needed rain delay before extra innings allowed the Cubs to reset before scoring twice in the top half of the 10th. In the bottom half, even after Carl Edwards, Jr. got the first two outs, Cubs fans around the world knew that the game was not over. A walk and a hit later, the game was within reach for the Indians, as a run was in, and the tying run was on first base. But Joe Maddon brought southpaw Mike Montgomery out of the bullpen to face Michael Martinez, and a slow bouncer to Kris Bryant brought every Cubs fan to their feet. Once it was assured that Anthony Rizzo caught the throw from Bryant, it finally was time to celebrate. Finally.
My initial thoughts were to think back to the Cubs legends of the past that did not get to experience this moment before their deaths. Harry Caray and Ernie Banks come to mind, but for me, Ron Santo is the man I thought of first.
Santo was a Hall of Fame third baseman and an unusual Cubs color commentator for most of my childhood. In a posthumous biography, Ron Santo: A Perfect 10 by Pat Hughes, it was mentioned by many that Santo was a friend to those who knew him, and to those who didn’t.
It is a shame that Santo didn’t get to see his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, but more importantly, he didn’t get to see the Cubs win it all, which seemed to be his lifelong mission.