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THAT HAPPENED

“Look out, Cleveland, the storm is comin’ through,
And it’s runnin’ right up on you.”The Band

Robbie Robertson’s ominous lyric from nearly four decades ago was no warning to the Indians about the Chicago Cubs, who ended a 108-year span between World Series victories Wednesday night in 10-inning nail-biter that was anyone’s game until the final out. It was a glorious game filled with all the elements that make baseball America’s greatest—and most unpredictable—sport: timely home runs, split-second defensive plays, nuanced pitching. Even the 17-minute rain delay produced—and prolonged—anxiety.

For the Cubs and their fans, it was a victory that never felt secure. Heroes became goats and returned to hero status just innings apart. An exhausted Aroldis Chapman, an unnerved Jon Lester and, in his final game, the former Dodger David Ross. Wild pitches and gopher balls were quickly forgotten after timely outs and Ross’ sixth inning home run. Few teams have so completely alternated between dominating their opponent and giving away the game.

Late in the game, when Rajai Davis tied things up with a two-run homer, the fans who pack Wrigley to the gills all summer had to wonder if Steve Bartman, the billy goat and the black cat from Shea Stadium had shown up to cast their voodoo over Progressive Field. Did they get extra tickets from Bill Murray, you had to wonder?

The Cubs held on, thanks to the bat of a man who displayed Series heroics for the Kansas City Royals last year, Ben Zobrist, and a single from Miguel Montero, who would have never left the bench if he played a position other than catcher.

Manager Joe Madden is back to genius status today after questionable moves that in the long run, landed him on moments of desperation. He threw out the book on bunting, relief pitching, substitutions and who knows what else until he was forced to put a string-bean of a pitcher on the mound wearing what appeared to be his father’s pants. The shockingly skinny Carl Edwards Jr. faced two batters to get silly stat of a “hold”; Mike Montgomery faced a single batter to get a save; and Chapman, who had a horrendous pitching line, got credit for the win. This is one box score that neither reflects the intensity, nor the reality, of one of the best World Series games ever.

A wall outside Wrigley has become a memorial to Cubs fans who died without seeing their team win a Series; Budweiser showed an out-of-character touch of class when their postgame spot highlighted the great announcer Harry Caray, who’s surely in heaven bellowing “Cubs win! Cubs win!”

At long last, Cubs fans are turning in their badges of honor, the tired "lovable loser” emblem, tossing them on a pile filled in recent years by the Red Sox (an 86-year drought between Series wins), Giants (56 years between Series wins) and Royals (30 years). Those badges continue to be worn by Indians fans, some of whom have now seen the Tribe lose Game 7s in 2016 and 1997. They’ll head into the 2017 with the longest current championship drought—68 seasons. Well, there’s always next year.

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