The Chicago Cubs are the World Series champions. That is worth repeating. The Cubs are indeed the World Series champs.
No more goats, college of coaches, black cats, outfielder Larry Biitner losing a fly ball in his cap, Gatorade-drenched gloves, or a poor, tortured fan going for a foul ball. No more curses or other folklore to explain another losing season. “Cubbie occurrences” have given way to a World Series trophy.
The Cubs defeated the American League champion Cleveland Indians in seven games, capped by a thrilling and often heart-stopping 8-7 triumph in 10 innings. The celebration took place on Nov. 2 at Cleveland's Progressive Field. Cub fans were nervous when the Indians had taken a 3-1 game lead in the series with a 7-2 win in game four at Wrigley Field.
But the Chicago Cubs, favored by many sportswriters to the win the National League title and the World Series, did what teams do that win 103 regular season games. They reached back for something extra. They battled and fought and won three straight games over Cleveland.
The result was the end of a 108-year drought. Cub fans had just gotten used to winning a National League title for the first time in 71 years. The World Series championship is the culmination of a great season and the end of years of frustrations for Cub fans.
The Chicago Cubs are indeed World Series champs. This is no joke. The wait is over and the celebrations can continue.
I watched the series with great interest. Being a White Sox fan, I could watch the World Series objectively. I'm a Sox fan but I'm a baseball fan. I watch the playoffs and World Series every year. This was quite exciting. Game seven was as thrilling as it gets and compares to the 1991 Minnesota Twins 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings of that finale.
So I think we all can salute what the Cubs did this year. I salute the long-suffering Cub fans, like my brother-in-law who was born 71 years ago, which was the last time the Cubs won a National League championship before losing to Detroit in seven games in that Word Series.
I salute the fans who stuck with this team when the upper deck was closed off for many games during the 1960s because of low attendance. I salute the fans who cheered the Cubs during the magical 1969 season only to face the first of many disappointments as the Amazin' Mets raced past them and went on to win a World Series.
The fans who stuck with those lackluster Cub teams of the 1970s deserve to celebrate. This World Series was for them. Some of the younger fans are ecstatic, but they did not have to go through those many lean years.
So this World Series is for those Cubs who are no longer here, like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Milt Pappas. This World Series is also for Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger and Randy Hundley.
And Cub fans from the 1960s can also point to second baseman Kenny Hubbs. The Rookie of the Year in 1962, Hubbs was a close friend of Santo. He died in a plane crash on Feb. 15, 1964 at the age of 22. This World Series title is for all of them along with the fans.
Watching the World Series win and the parade brought back memories for me from 11 years ago. I heard some of the same stories from people have been waiting for years and resigned to the fact it may never happen. Sons and daughters showed up at Wrigley Field or in Cleveland for the final game to represent their fathers, mothers, relatives or friends who have since died and not able to witness a Cubs World Series championship.
Visits to local cemeteries had headstones covered with Cub memorabilia. That was a similar scene from 11 years ago where White Sox pennants and trinkets can be found along graves like Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
I’m glad the Cubs won. I have nothing against the Indians. They were an outstanding team who won the American League championship without their best player, outfielder Michael Brantley, and two starting pitchers.
But this was the Cubs year. This Cub team is growing into a powerhouse. And in a couple of years when Theo Epstein and the Ricketts family create their own network, this National League team will be raking in millions and millions. They should be a contender for years to come.
Cub fans will have to get used to that. They are no longer loveable losers or the underdogs. The Cubs are World Series champions. It may still take a while to get used to that.