Wednesday 18 October 2017

Cubs end century-long famine after epic encounter

Chicago Cubs players celebrate their World Series victory against the Cleveland Indians. Picture: Reuters
Chicago Cubs players celebrate their World Series victory against the Cleveland Indians. Picture: Reuters

Rupert Cornwell

The Chicago Cubs, being the Chicago Cubs, did it the hard way: on the road, a blown four-run lead, a rain delay, and finally a nail-biting extra innings victory. But their epic triumph over the Cleveland Indians to clinch the World Series may be the best thing to happen to baseball in years.

The 2016 Series was one for the ages, a constant ebb and flow between two perfectly matched teams, and at the end a 108-year drought, the longest in US major league sport, is over.

Curses have been shattered after Cubs became the first team since 1985 to come back from a 3-1 deficit, and the first this millennium to put up the best regular season and then win the World Series.

Time and again this post-season the stage was set for a typical Cubs collapse: first when they were on the brink of losing a pivotal game four against the San Francisco Giants - only for them to score four runs in the ninth to secure a 6-5 win and clinch the division series and wobbled again in the pennant series against the LA Dodgers.

Travails

But baseball is the winner. The Cubs' century of travails had made them America's favourite franchise. A warm glow extends from coast to coast. Pity the poor Indians, who were trying to break a 68-year drought of their own.

Just four outs from defeat and trailing 6-4, Rajai Davis hit a two-run homer that tied the game and ignited the Cleveland faithful. But this was to be Chicago's night.

"This is one of the best games anybody will ever see," said Cubs hero Kris Bryant, who fielded Michael Martinez's grounder and fired it to first for the final out. "I'm out here crying. I can't really put into words what this means." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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