Some people are not fans of the Chicago Cubs. But many, many more people ARE fans of the Chicago Cubs. This 2016 World Series recap is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Chicago Cubs
Your 2016 record: 103-58
Your requisite doughy power hitter: Kyle Schwarber. I bet he would have been the best college roommate ever. You could get drunk and pass out on his chin.
Your manager: Crazy asshole Joe Maddon, who looks like a grizzled comedian and managed like one during the course of Game 7 last night, swapping out starter Kyle Hendricks (who was having a relatively smooth outing) in the fifth inning with a 5-1 lead in favor of Jon Lester, who was coming off short rest, apparently cannot field or pick anyone off, has a very strict warm-up routine that demands he be put in after an exact number of pitches to loosen up (no more or less) or else he detonates, and needs a solid inning or two before he REALLY finds his rhythm.
Thankfully, there are a great many casual fans like me who tuned into that game, instantly presumed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, and were more than happy to scream at Maddon for being a fucking idiot. For real, what the fuck? In another dimension, Hendricks pitches the bulk of the game and the Cubs celebrate a solid hour earlier. Joe Maddon is a dick.
Of course, it only got weirder from there. Lester threw a wild pitch that hit his own catcher in the face and allowed two runs to score. And then, later on, Maddon replaced Lester with closer and alleged wifebeater Aroldis Chapman, who was already gassed from (needlessly?) pitching in Game 6 and whose dominant presence in this Series made pretty much everyone feel uncomfortable.
By the bottom of the ninth inning, I was dishing out managerial takes at my TV like I was Vito from the East Bronx calling into Francesa. HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU LEAVE HIM IN? HE’S GOT NO STUFF, MIKE! Anyway, that led to the biggest HOLY SHIT moment of the night, which then led to this stupid bunt. I thought (sips Metamucil) NERDY SABERNERDS hated bunting, especially bunting with two strikes and a runner on third. Maybe Maddon should put away his laptop and USE HIS GUT.
Anyway, this was never gonna be easy, because these are the Cubs. But Maddon essentially cut the brakes and glued the gas pedal down, just to make things even more challenging. But in the end, none of his managerial sabotage mattered because …
What’s new that rules: You are World Series Champions:
This was already a very good sports year. We had the Villanova buzzer beater, Leicester winning the Premier League, the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead, and perhaps the greatest collective display of American athletes ever down at the Rio games. But this … this one was the best moment of them all. Baseball is a study in catharsis: miserable, awful, long-gestating catharsis. And so every shitty moment from the past century (my family was actually living in Chicago in 1984, when the Cubs blew their playoff series to the Padres, so that fanbase already had an emeritus-level of experience in Pain back THEN), and the remarkably concentrated agony of Game 7—rain delay and all—only served to make the final out that much more gratifying.
This is a very rude website by nature, and I am probably the most dickish writer on staff, throwing down hateful takes whenever possible, turding up the punch bowl in the most glorious of moments. You can grow divorced from normal sports fandom if you indulge your inner troll too often. You can prize schadenfreude more than you prize real accomplishments, and that’s not a healthy thing. Last night was validation of every sport cliché: why you play the games, why we watch, the thrill of victory, and on and on. And so today, I’m gonna ignore all the bad shit (Chapman, Cubs owner Lil’ Ted Cruz, fat Indians fans rocking redface, insufferable tweets about the redemption of Steve Bartman) and bask in the SPORTS of it all. I’m gonna watch that crowd outside Wrigley blow up on the final out over and over, and choke up watching videos of people filming their grandparents when the Cubs finally won it all. This is the good shit. This was all well-earned.
Let’s remember some Cubs:
Hear it from a Cubs fan!