Last night’s World Series finale was an instant classic. Long after the clocks on the east coast passed midnight, and those of us working stiffs were wondering just how long we would be able to stay up to watch the spectacle, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-7, in extra innings.
I’m tempted to add “of course” in that last sentence, because beneath my seemingly normal, rationalist exterior lurks a dark baseball fan soul filled with twisted corridors of gloom and doom, jinxes and bad breaks, lowered expectations and grimly anticipated disasters. When you’ve been a fan of a professional sports team for your entire life, and that team has known nothing but ultimate heartbreaks and bitter defeats on the yawning cusp of victory, it’s virtually impossible to think and feel anything else.
But maybe the Cubs’ victory signals that failure is not inevitable, and that fortunes for star-crossed teams like the Indians and their fans can change. With their gutty victory last night, the Cubs ended their 108-year period of misery. That leaves Cleveland’s soon to be 69-year run without a World Series championship the longest streak in American professional baseball. Perhaps the Tribe and their fans have only another 39 years to go before they, too, can know the thrill of hoisting the World Series trophy.
In the meantime, hats off to the Cubs and their loyal cadre of fans, who rooted like crazy and helped to will their team to victory. And hats off to the Indians, too, for an unforgettable season. I was proud of the Tribe’s grit, their unwillingness to let a series of crucial injuries thwart their season, and their improbable comeback to tie game 7 in the eighth inning against one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. A tip of the cap, too, to Terry Francona for being a managerial wizard who pulled every string along the way.
And, hey — this year I got to see my team win the opening game of the World Series with my son and my brother. That’s something that I’ll always remember with great fondness, even if the Series itself didn’t end up as we all hoped.