I still can’t believe it’s true. The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series. I didn’t think I would hear those words in my lifetime. Millions of fans are now experiencing the same joy as me, so I’m going to share some of my thoughts on the matter.
Not since the Truman administration have fans been able to witness the Chicago Cubs advance to the World Series. 71 years of waiting has finally paid off. The last time the Cubs went to the World Series, the microwave was still a year away from hitting shelves. The NBA didn’t even exist yet.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of fans that have suffered more than Cubs fans. After decades of being referred to as “lovable losers,” the Cubs have finally shown that they are capable of playing championship-caliber baseball.
The Cubs made it to the NLCS last season, but that was a surprise. They started churning out results a year ahead of schedule. Naturally, that led to higher expectations for 2016, and to this point, they have not disappointed.
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In fac,t they’ve done what many deemed was impossible for this “cursed” franchise. But as this team was so determined to prove, curses are not real. They’re merely a frame of mind. An attitude that the attainable cannot be attained.
Before this game, the Dodgers had never come back from a 2-3 series deficit. After 1945 the Cubs had never won an NLCS-clinching game. No matter who won, one team was going to reverse history after this series. So why not the Cubs?
Everything went smoothly in Game 6
As I watched Game 6, I kept waiting for something to go terribly wrong for the Cubs. The first inning went about as well as you could’ve hoped for the Cubs, scoring a couple of runs off the great Clayton Kershaw.
The game went on and the Cubs kept pouring on more runs, but still I didn’t think about it. I’m not a superstitious person, but in my mind, thinking about the World Series prematurely could only backfire. So I tried to focus my attention only on the game happening in front of me.
Kyle Hendricks was masterful. A leadoff single to start the game for the Dodgers was the only bit of trouble he had to deal with all night. After turning a double play and picking off Josh Reddick at first base, Hendricks faced the minimum until he was pulled.
It was a performance to remember for the young man. For a pitcher who started the year as the fifth man in the rotation, he pitched with the poise of a postseason veteran.
Anthony Rizzo picked up where he left off, leaving that early postseason slump in the rear-view mirror. His home run off Kershaw in the fifth inning was just the icing on the cake for a perfect Game 6.
Javier Baez was terrific all series long. Just as he did in the NLDS, Baez amazed his teammates and fans by flashing the leather and coming up with clutch hits at the plate. There are few players in the league who could pull off some of the defensive plays Baez made. It was truly a spectacle to behold. He more than deserved his co-NLCS MVP award, shared with teammate Jon Lester.
What this Pennant means to me personally
It wasn’t until the eighth inning came to a close that it actually hit me. The Cubs were close. Three outs away from advancing to World Series and a five-run lead to work with. The Dodgers managed to come up with just two hits all night.
It finally hit me that this was about to happen. And when Addison Russell, Javy Baez, and Anthony Rizzo turned the game-ending double play, the feeling of euphoria set in.
Years of being a Cubs fan and watching them perpetually lose had paid off. Years of watching them implode in their rare opportunities to do something of value had finally paid off. This was one of the moments Cubs fans had been waiting for a lifetime. It had finally arrived.
It runs in the family
When I realized that this wasn’t one big, elaborate prank and that this game actually happened, my first thought was about my Dad. I didn’t just pick a random team out of a hat to root for. I was born into this. Without my Dad, I wouldn’t have felt this amazing feeling.
As elated as I was, I was even happier for him. He has gone through far more losing seasons of Cubs baseball than I have. I wasn’t able to watch the game with him, but I knew he was watching every pitch, just like I was.
It didn’t start with my dad, though. It started with my grandfather. He would listen to the radio quite frequently when he was young, and in those days there weren’t nearly as many stations available as there are now. One of those stations, however, would regularly have Cubs games.
And that’s where it began. It was then that the McGinnis family declared unwavering loyalty to the Chicago Cubs. My Grandpa isn’t with us now, but I know he watched.
That’s part of what made this so special. It wasn’t just for me. It was for my Dad, and his Dad, too. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I wouldn’t feel this overwhelming joy over a baseball team if it wasn’t for them. I will forever be grateful to both of them for that.
Live in this moment
Harry Caray once famously said, “As sure as God made green apples, someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.” And that day has finally arrived. We’re all about to witness it. Major sports history is going to unfold before our very eyes.
Game 1 of the 2016 World Series begins Tuesday night. But until then I’m not going to stress or worry about it. I’m simply going to soak it all in and enjoy this moment. I’d advise all of you to do the same. The Chicago Cubs are “lovable losers” no more.
They are a team determined to deliver the fans of Chicago something they haven’t seen in more than a century. And they’re close. Closer than any Cubs team has been in 71 years. Enjoy this moment, Cubs fans.
You deserve it.