Epic victory by Cubs ends title drought

Left: The Chicago Cubs celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game Seven of the World Series at Progressive Field on Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio. Below: Miguel Montero of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the 10th inning for Anthony
The Chicago Cubs celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game Seven of the World Series at Progressive Field on Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Left: The Chicago Cubs celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game Seven of the World Series at Progressive Field on Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio. Below: Miguel Montero of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the 10th inning for Anthony
Miguel Montero of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the 10th inning for Anthony Rizzo to score the winning run against the Cleveland Indians.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Chicago's baseballers win nail-biting World Series to take their first title since 1908

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • If you are going to endure years - no, generations - of futility and heartbreak, when you do finally win Major League Baseball's 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 Wednesday night, carried over 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 homer by Rajai Davis off closer Aroldis Chapman - the Cubs found a way to beat back the ghosts of play-offs 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' Most Valuable Player, and a single by Miguel Montero.

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 it across to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

  • The Chicago Cubs waited 39,466 days to become Major League Baseball World Series champions once again. Here are four other teams that endured - and ended - long title droughts

    46

    CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (BASKETBALL, 46 YEARS)

    In June, Ohio native LeBron James led the Cavaliers to their first National Basketball Association title since their formation in 1970. It was Cleveland's first major sports title since the Browns beat the Baltimore Colts to win the National Football League title in 1964.

    The Cavs were the first team to recover from a 1-3 NBA Finals deficit. While the Indians were on the wrong side of a 3-1 collapse, James, who was at Progressive Field to watch Game 7, posted a video on his Twitter feed to congratulate them.


    79

    GREAT BRITAIN (TENNIS, 79 YEARS)

    Andy Murray ended Britain's wait to lift the Davis Cup last November, when he defeated Belgium's David Goffin to seal a 3-1 victory.

    Murray starred in all of Britain's wins in Ghent. With the visitors 0-1 down, he swept past Ruben Bemelmans to level proceedings before teaming up with older brother Jamie to win the doubles tie.

    The last time Britain claimed the biggest prize in international team tennis was in 1936, when Fred Perry and Bunny Austin beat Australia.


    86

    BOSTON RED SOX (BASEBALL, 86 YEARS)

    The Cubs buried the Curse of the Billy Goat on Wednesday; the Red Sox ended the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. Boston swept the St Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918. In 1919, the Red Sox sold star Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, resulting in the myth that they were jinxed.


    132

    LEICESTER CITY (FOOTBALL, 132 YEARS)

    Leicester City completed one of the biggest fairy tales in the history of English football by winning the Premier League title in May. It was their first top-flight title since the club was founded in 1884.

    Before the 2015-16 season began, Claudio Ranieri's men were favourites to be relegated and were 5,000-1 long shots to win the title. But they lost just three league games all season to finish on 81 points - 10 ahead of nearest rivals Arsenal.

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 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 onto 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.

One fan held a sign: "Now I can die in peace." That sleep will no longer be tortured by old memories - of collapses in 1969, 1984 and 2003, and talk of the "Curse of the Billy Goat," allegedly placed on the team by a vexed Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, after being thrown out of a game in 1945 due to a foul-smelling pet goat.

"If you want to believe in that kind of stuff, it's going to hold you back for a long time," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I love tradition. I think tradition is worth time mentally, and tradition is worth being upheld. But curses and superstitions are not."

In Game 7, the Cubs did not so much beat the Indians as survive them. The heart-stopping end to the Series carried with it an additional historical perk. The Cubs became the first team to rally from a 1-3 deficit since Kansas City did so in 1985 and the first to do it on the road since Pittsburgh in 1979.

Meanwhile, in this match-up of long-suffering franchises, the Indians have not won since 1948.

"It's going to hurt," said Indians manager Terry Francona.

"It hurts because we care, but they need to walk with their heads held high because they left nothing on the field."

The Cubs know all about tough losses. No team in sport have failed in such style over the last century than the Cubs, which makes them the quintessential American sports tale. Neither an aspirational brand like the New York Yankees nor born losers like the Philadelphia Phillies, they are a team for the rest of us.

Plenty had transpired in American life since the Cubs had last won the World Series. Mark Twain died and the Ottoman Empire fell. The Titanic was laid down, constructed, sank and was re-discovered. Halley's Comet passed earth, twice. Eighteen different US presidents were elected and sworn in.

But that century and more of heartbreak is now but a memory.

NYTIMES, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Epic victory by Cubs ends title drought'. Print Edition | Subscribe