CLEVELAND — The billy goat curse is dead.
The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions at long last, winning their first Fall Classic in 108 years, defeating the Cleveland Indians in 10 innings, 8-7, in Game 7,
The Indians were down 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth, but they got to closer Aroldis Chapman, tying things up with an RBI double from Brandon Guyer and a two-run home run from Rajai Davis.
Chapman lost the lead, Cleveland had the momentum, but then play was halted by rain before the start of the 10th inning. The delay lasted 17 minutes.
When play resumed, Chicago got to work.
Kyle Schwarber got it started with a single off Bryan Shaw. Albert Almora Jr., came in to pinch run and advanced to second on a fly out from Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked, bringing up Ben Zobrist.
Zobrist, as he has throughout this World Series, delivered. His RBI double off Shaw drove in Almora Jr. After Addison Russell was intentionally walked, Miguel Montero’s single with the bases loaded brought home Rizzo.
The Cubs had eight players record an RBI, the most of any team in a World Series Game 7.
“It could not have been a more entertaining, difficult series to win,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
“I think beyond all that, I want to believe and I do believe this is good for our game moving forward, that we’re attempting to seize young fans and not just to play the game, but to be fans of the game. You cannot be more entertained than you were over these last seven games. It’s incredible. Of course, I’m not saying that just because we won, but because it’s true.”
Schwarber went 3-for-5 and finished the World Series 7-for-17 with a .412 average and two RBI. Zobrist, who went 10-for-28 (.357) with two doubles, a triple, two RBIs and five runs in the series, was named World Series MVP.
It’s the second championship in a row for Zobrist; The Illinois native was part of the Kansas City Royals’ 2015 World Series-winning team.
“Man, this one about made me pass out,” Zobrist said.
“I felt like the way that the series has been up and down and then Game 7 here, the elation of getting up early in the game and the feeling like we have the game in our grasp, and then it getting away in the bottom of the eighth, and having a little rain delay and coming back and scoring those two in the 10th.”
“It was just an epic battle,” he continued. “We’ve been listening to Rocky’s soundtrack the last three games. We’ve got our own Italian Stallion, Anthony Rizzo, that’s been putting that on.
“It was like a heavyweight fight, man. Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out. The Indians never gave up either, and I can’t believe we’re finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy.”
Longest drought over at last
The Cubs hadn’t won a World Series since 1908, which was the longest drought in baseball. They also broke the curse set the last time they got this far 71 years ago.
On Oct. 6, 1945, a month after the end of World War II, a Chicago tavern owner named William “Billy” Sianis went to Wrigley Field, intending to attend Game 4 of the World Series with his pet goat, Murphy.
But, according to the Billy Goat Tavern website, while both had tickets, the goat was denied entry. No animals were allowed in the ballpark, plus Murphy smelled bad.
Sianis, according to legend, threw up his arms and proclaimed, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.”
They had not won since. Until now.
The Cubs are the first team to come behind from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series since the Kansas City Royals did it in 1985. Chicago also accomplished that feat by winning the final two games on the road. The last team to do that was the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
With the Cubs’ win early Thursday morning, the Indians now have the current longest dry spell between championships, last winning in 1948.