Ben Blanchard, Sports Editor
Wednesday night at Brick Street, students packed the bar shoulder-to-shoulder. Although typically the bar’s “Country Night,” there was no denim, flannel or country music to be found, as Major League Baseball’s epic Game 7 played out on the big screen in front of hundreds of transfixed fans.
Boxes of popcorn and pitchers of beer fueled anxious Cubs and Indians fans alike, as both sides agonized throughout the extended final game of arguably the most climactic baseball series in decades.
Despite the lockdown pitching anticipated from both sides, things got off to a bang Wednesday night, as Chicago’s Dexter Fowler hit a leadoff home run on the fourth pitch of the game.
From there, the Cubs led until their All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman blew a three-run lead with two outs in the eighth when the Indians’ Rajai Davis hit a game-tying, two-run homer.
In the end, after 10 innings of nonstop action and suspense, the Chicago Cubs emerged as World Champions, ending their 108-year pennant drought and the “Curse of the Billy Goat” with an 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Pandemonium ensued, with numerous Cleveland and Chicago supporters in tears. The jubilation felt by Chicago fans, displayed through repeated renditions of “Go, Cubs, Go,” was only matched by the despair experienced by the Tribe faithful.
“I really just can’t even describe it,” sophomore and Chicagoland resident Tommy Martin said. “Seeing the Cubs finally win it after being told all my life that they never would and seeing people who had also gone their entire lives without seeing them win just is an indescribable, amazing feeling.”
For Cleveland fans, the loss is especially crushing considering the Indians’ 3-1 lead after Game 4 and home field advantage in Games 6 and 7. Ironically, the blown 3-1 lead is the second in a championship this year, as the record-breaking Golden State Warriors surrendered a 3-1 NBA Finals lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in June.
For months, 3-1 jokes, including a gravestone reading “3-1 Lead” at James’ Halloween party less than a week ago, have been frequently used by Clevelanders. Suddenly, they seem to have lost their humor.
“This is the world showing me to be humble,” sophomore and Cleveland resident Colin McGreal said. “All of the 3-1 jokes, the karma… I can’t even talk about it right now.”
The game, which stretched to almost 1 a.m. EST due to a ninth-inning rain delay and an extra inning, was the most-watched baseball game since Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, a decisive game that featured the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.
World Series favorites since spring training, the 103-win Cubs will be strong favorites to repeat considering their young roster and postseason experience. For the Indians, their drought, which began in 1948, will have to wait until next year to be broken.