For every kid raised in Chicago who used each birthday to wish for a World Series victory, for every old Chicago native who heard over and over, “not in your lifetime,” and for every Cubs fan each season for the past 108 seasons, this one is for you. On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series.
The 2016 fall classic is one for the history books. Both teams, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs, had high hopes to end extensive championship droughts. The Indians last won a World Series in 1948, while the Cubs’ futility extended back to 1908. The teams totalled 174 seasons of combined failure, the longest streak in professional sports history. Fans of each organization were starved for some success – both teams were ready to change their cities’ histories.
For Chicago, this meant breaking a curse. The Billy Goat Curse was the infamous burden placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945 after William Sianis, owner of the local Billy Goat Tavern, angered Cubs fans by bringing his pet goat, Murphy, into Wrigley Field. Murphy’s odor was wafting over the bleachers, and the Chicago faithful, disgusted, asked Sianis to take his goat and leave. Fuming as he left Wrigley Field, Sianis proclaimed that the Cubs would never win another World Series. The Cubs followed this incident by losing the upcoming World Series, in which they were favored to win over the underdog Detroit Tigers, thus beginning a superstitious belief that Chicago was doomed to lose for the rest of eternity. 108 years of evidence seemed to support this claim, but last Wednesday the Cubs defied their history and accomplished the unthinkable.
Their improbable victory marked the end of the longest championship drought in American sports history. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908 – at that time, a Hershey bar cost a mere two cents, the vacuum cleaner had just been invented, the eventual voice of Bugs Bunny had just been born and baseball’s now-famous anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” had yet to be written. When the Cubs last won a World Series, their home stadium, Wrigley Field, now the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, didn’t exist.
In the century following their last championship, the Cubs suffered crushing defeats and bitter disappointments, earning the moniker of “Lovable Losers” as they continued to endure an onslaught of poor seasons. Fans remained loyal, but were mocked every time they gained some optimism, inevitably falling flat on their faces.
But those fans remained supportive for 108 brutal years, even when the Indians swiftly erased a three-run lead in the bottom of the 8th. They continued to cheer when a timely rain delay stalled a tense Game 7 long into the night. And when their Cubbies plated the winning run in the top of the 10th, the fans went wild. Finally they could wear their jerseys with pride – their lovable losers had finally delivered. The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions. “Next year” has finally come.
“The whole thing still feels unreal,” Lucienne Devitt ’20, an Illinois native, said. “Having always rooted for a team that is constantly teased as being the losers, it feels amazing to be rooting for the champions now. I had to go home because such a long-awaited win is something that only happens once in a lifetime. Literally every person I saw walking around the streets of Chicago the whole day was wearing Cubs stuff. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”
“It happened, baby,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, standing among a crowd of cheering fans. “It happened.” It took 108 years, seven World Series playoff games, a blown lead, 10 innings and a rain delay, but Cubs fans can finally breathe easy. It happened. It’s over.