zubeneschamali: (baseball)
[personal profile] zubeneschamali
If you follow me here or on Twitter, you know how much of a Cubs fan I am. I've talked before about how important the Cubs were to my childhood, or at least their failures. >.< But that's something you have to understand about why them winning the World Series (THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!) is such a big deal. It's not just that they hadn't won a championship since 1908, the longest any U.S. sports team has gone without by a good forty years. It's not just that my grandfather went his entire life without seeing them win, and my dad has gone 75 years without seeing them win (like the tons of other people being spontaneously honored on the bricks outside Wrigley Field), and that watching and listening to the Cubs with them was such an important part of my childhood. It's not just that there are sweet stories like David Ross, the oldest player ever to be in the World Series, hitting a home run last night, or the rookie Carl Edwards, Jr., starting to pitch in the crucial bottom of the tenth inning, or that the emininetly shippable Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo (known as Bryzzo because they're best buds and bat one after the other) collaborated for the last out.

It's that after decades, even a century, of Cub fans going for years without even a shot at the playoffs and then having their hearts broken by ALMOST getting there but not quite, we've learned to protect ourselves. Like late-series SPN fans, we don't get our hopes up that we're going to get what we want. We have low expectations and are happy when we beat them. We see things start to go downhill, just start to decline, and we loudly proclaim, "Told you so! That's why we can't have nice things!" and give up hope. If we actually fall behind, we just want it to be over quickly so we don't have to watch.

And yet.

The Cubs had the best record in baseball for the entire season with the exception of a couple of days in July. They had by far the best record at the end of the season. In the first round of the playoffs, the Cubs were down by three runs in the ninth inning against San Francisco. They scored an incredible four runs and won the game and the series. That's the kind of comeback they normally don't manage. In the second round, they got shut out for two games in a row. Not a single run. But then they roared back, 10-2, 8-4, and 5-0, and went on to the World Series for the first time since (a month after) WWII. In the World Series, they lost two games at home, which was not only embarrassing but meant they were down 3-1 in the series. They had to win every game from that point on. And Cub fans being Cub fans, we wanted to believe, but it was so hard. I told myself it would be enough that they got to the Series, that next year would be better.

But they won one, and I told myself it would be enough that they won one at Wrigley, breaking the billy goat curse for good. Then they won two, and I told myself it would be enough that they got to Game 7. And then last night's game was one of the most ridiculously tense and exciting baseball games ever. But when the dust cleared, the tiny bit of hope I'd managed to keep was rewarded. The players have had the motto of "Never Give Up" all season, and even last night, when Cleveland tied it up in the 8th, and when it went into extra innings, they went right back out there and perservered.

And that's why this victory is so sweet. Because the Cubs of my childhood blew the lead; they didn't come from behind. This Cubs team has faith in each other, faith in themselves, and so the fans have faith in them, too. It's that perserverance and struggle and willingness to keep going that defines this team against the Cubs I'm used to, and I really like it.

Congratulations, Cubbies. You're the best.

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