If you are going to endure years — no, generations — of futility and heartbreak, when you do finally win a World Series championship, it may as well be a memorable one.
The Chicago Cubs did just that, shattering their 108-year championship drought in epic fashion: with an 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7, which began on Wednesday night, carried into Thursday morning and seemed to end all too soon.
When the Indians rallied with three runs in the eighth inning — including a two-out, two-strike, two-run thunderbolt of a home run by Rajai Davis off closer Aroldis Chapman — the Cubs found a way to beat back the ghosts of playoffs past.
After a brief rain delay following the ninth inning, they pushed two runs across in the 10th inning on a double by Ben Zobrist, the Series’s most valuable player, and a single by Miguel Montego.
The Cubs then had to hold their breath in the bottom of the inning when Davis hit a run-scoring single to pull the Indians to a run behind. But reliever Mike Montgomery replaced Carl Edwards and got Michael Martinez to hit a slow roller into the infield. Third baseman Kris Bryant scooped it up and threw across to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
As the ball made its flight across the diamond, the stadium went silent for one of only a few times all night — and only until it settled into Rizzo’s glove. Then the huge contingent of Cubs fans erupted, and the players raced to the middle of the infield to celebrate.
“We’re world champions,” Rizzo said in the alcohol-soaked visitors’ clubhouse after he had taken a break from embracing the actor Bill Murray. “The Chicago Cubs are world champions. Let that sink in.”
Thousands of fans lingered for nearly an hour after the game, moving into the field level of the stadium, waving the ubiquitous W flags, singing the victory anthem “Go Cubs Go” and roaring when Rizzo held up the ball he had caught for the final out.