From the first pitch, to the last, it has been an incredible #WorldSeries. No one could have predicted this kind of excitement when we experienced the first pitch of the season back in April. As Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said prior to Game 7, “If you’re a fan of baseball, this is the best outcome that you could possibly hope for in a World Series anyone’s been alive for,” reported the New York Times. You are talking 1908 and 108 year-old drought for the Cubs and 1948, a 68 year-old drought for the Indians. It's been a wild ride. Here's a recap of the 2016 World Series.
Game 1: Lived up to the hype with more than three generations of Cubs fans and at least two generations of Cleveland fans looking to quench their thirst for a World Series Championship. As SB Nation reported, "Cleveland was in control throughout, as it put up two runs against Jon Lester in the first inning to give Corey Kluber and the Indians’ bullpen plenty of breathing room for the rest of the game." Kluber was nearly flawless in his 6 innings pitched, charting a franchise record of nine strikeouts and four hits. The Tribe took Game 1, 6-0 behind the dominating offense of Roberto Perez. Cleveland leads the series 1-0.
Game 2: It was the Cubs' turn to strike and it was the comeback kid Kyle Schwarber's night to shine. Behind the dominance of Jake Arrieta, the Cubs built back their confidence from dropping Game 1. "In many ways, it was a game of gumption, and Chicago moved ahead early by scoring once in the first inning on a long double off the right field wall by first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber then singled in a run in the third to double the lead," reported The Guardian. The Cubs flew the W in Game 2, tying the Series 1-1 with a 5-1 victory over the Indians.
Game 3: After making the Series even at 1, the Cubs headed home with the Indians hot on their trail. The first World Series game in Wrigley since 1945 ended with a 1-0 deficit for the home town crowd. Tribe pitcher Josh Tomlin allowed only three base runners all night long and shut out the Cubs. This was not the welcome party Chicago hoped for when they jetted back toward Murphy's Bleachers, a fan favorite for the locals.
Game 4: The Cubs needed a win here after dropping in the Series 2-1 much to the dismay of fans in Wrigleyville, but behind the Game 1 winner, Corey Kluber, it just was not happening. This time the Indians called upon Jason Kipnis to get the job done offensively and he didn't disappoint. Kipnis beat up the Cubs with three hits and scored two runs as Cleveland took Game 4, 7-2. As our local news NJ.com captured in a post game interview, "We've got one more to get and it's probably going to be the hardest victory of the year, but this is a special night for me and this team to take the first two here," said Kipnis, who grew up a Cubs fan on the north side of Chicago.
Game 5: The Rocky Theme prevails; Anthony Rizzo hyped up the team with Rocky movies in the clubhouse and the theme was his walk up song for his first at bat. Rocky made his way from Philly to the North side of Chicago and gave the Cubs the much needed kick in the butt to help them take W for Game 5. Cubs’ offense demonstrated multiple ways of scoring with a Kris Bryant homer, a bunt single by Javier Baez and a David Ross sacrifice fly to take the lead in the 5th. Then it was lights out with Aroldis Chapman giving his team 8 outs. 3-2 Cubs taking Chicago back to Cleveland for Game 6.
Game 6: Was all Chicago- almost too much Chicago based on Joe Maddon's expression who looked concerned even after the Cubs handily beat the Tribe 9-3, with Chapman coming in to be sure in the 7th. Addison Russell's grand slam solidified the lead for the Cubs, who looked confident heading into the 9th inning. Perhaps Kris Bryant's post game interview said it all, "You dream for this."
Game 7: It was a winner takes all Game 7, the 37th Game 7 in World Series history. Dexter Fowler got things going with one swing of the bat, and just like that, a home run against the sparkling Kluber, who has silenced Chicago bats up to this point, dominating in Games 1 and 4, was down 1-0 in the first inning. As Fox announcer John Smoltz reported in the game last night, the Cubs picked the right time for their bats to get hot. Down 3-1 in the Series the Cubs battled for the chance to win it all in Game 7. Chicago picked and picked at Kluber and they finally knocked the Indian hurler out of the game in the 5th inning. The Cubs weren't afraid to test outfielders' arms and kicked their running game into full force.
Fox Sports asked David Ross to wear a microphone to listen in on the sounds of the game. They captured the anxiety and excitement on the field from the vantage point of the young players that played their hearts out in front of millions of viewers across the world. It was Rizzo who leaned on Ross's shoulder and said, "I'm a nervous wreck." This emotion from a guy who drove the comeback bus for Chicago and carried his team into this Game 7. But it was veteran Ben Zobrist that broke up the 6-6 tie in the 10th inning and allowed the Cubs to go ahead, 8-6. More drama in the bottom of the 10th as Cleveland came within one run, 8-7, but a slow roller ended Cleveland's night and World Series hopes as the Cubs held on and became the 2016 World Series Champions of Baseball.
According to the Chicago Tribune's rules for flying “The W” Cubs "fans are supposed to take down the flag at the end of the season unless they win the World Series; then they get the entire off-season to fly it high."
Fly the W Chicago. Congratulations and thank you for a great Series! It's been an incredible #WorldSeries and an incredible end to the MLB 2016 Season. 107 days until pitchers and catchers report. It will be here before we know it, but right now, I am happy to share my excitement for the Cubs who are goatless in 2016...Go Cubs Go!
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist