The 2016 World Series lived up to every bit of hype, and then some. The Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians gave diehard baseball fans the show that they crave, while putting on a performance worthy of reeling in the casual baseball fan for years to come.
I wrote and article before the series that the Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians World Series would be the best World Series in recent years, and one that would ignite the fan in the most casual of baseball fans for years to come. Looking back, that was pretty accurate, this World Series lived up to any and all expectations.
Two clubs with championship droughts of 108 years, and 71 years respectively provided us with just the 38th World Series game seven of all time, and quite possibly the most anticipated game seven in World Series history. Twenty-four hours seemed like a week to me, and probably an eternity to the Cubs and Indians loyal fans.
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A week long battle of wits between two of the best managers in all of baseball culminated with the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years on Wednesday night. Terry Francona was a mastermind with the use of his bullpen, covering an injury-riddled starting rotation and a sub-par offensive output all the way to game seven of the World Series.
In the end, Joe Maddon and the Cubs were just too much for the Indians as they came back from a three games to one deficit to break their curse and rewrite history on Wednesday night in Cleveland, in what will go down as one of the best World Series performances in the history of Major League Baseball.
Dexter Fowler did his part in making sure that game seven was one to remember on the first at-bat of the game, hitting a wall scraping 408-foot home run over the center-field fence off of Indians starter Corey Kluber, giving the Cubs an early 1-0 advantage. Fowler’s home run was the first lead-off home run in a game seven of the World Series ever.
The Cubs would lead the Indians 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base, when Rajai Davis hit a game-tying two-run home run over the left field fence. The home run was allowed by Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman who hadn’t allowed a single home run since being acquired by the Cubs before the trade deadline this past July.
After both teams went down scoreless in the ninth inning, and a 15 minute rain delay before the start of the tenth inning, the Cubs would strike for two runs in the top of the tenth inning on a pair of RBI singles by Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell.
In the bottom of the tenth inning the baseball gods would write a perfect story for us once again, as Cubs reliever Carl Edwards, Jr. walked Brandon Guyer with two outs, setting up a chance for Rajai Davis to tie the game with one swing again.
Davis would not homer again, but would drive Guyer in with an RBI single to center-field bringing the Indians to withing one run of another tie, and the Cubs one out away from a championship.
The next batter, Michael Martinez would ground out to Cubs third-baseman Kris Bryant for the final out of the game, providing the City of Chicago with their first World Series Championship in over a century.
The Indians and Cubs provided us with some history-book moments over the course of the last seven games. Corey Kluber became the first pitcher in World Series history to strike out eight batters in the first three innings pitched in game one. Addison Russell became the first player to hit a grand slam in the World Series since Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox in 2005, 11 years ago.
Dexter Fowler hit the first lead-off home run in a World Series game seven. In his final game in the major leagues David Ross became the oldest player to hit a home run in a World Series game seven. The two clubs also became the only two teams in World Series history to not have a starting pitcher reach six innings pitched in any one outing.
Rajai Davis hit the latest game tying or winning home run in a World Series game seven in baseball history, helping the Indians become the 3rd team in World Series history to come back from a deficit of four or more runs.
The long-term impact on baseball shines in the television ratings for the 2016 World Series. The first six games averaged roughly 20 million viewers each, with game seven predicted to have between 35-40 million viewers pushing the average viewers per game up to 23 million.
The 2016 World Series was the most watched Fall Classic since the 2004 World Series when the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.
This World Series was the best performance in recent years, packed deep with story-lines that almost wrote themselves for both teams. Game seven was one, if not the best baseball game that I have ever watched in my 26 years of life, and I know that the nearly 40 million Americans that tuned into tonight’s game, or attended in person will agree with me.
Baseball needed a World Series that would scintillate the minds of the youth and casual fan base, while reinvigorating the diehard fans of the game, and boy did baseball get what it needed this past week! So as a baseball enthusiast at heart, thank you Cubs, and thank you Indians for putting on a show for the ages and doing the game of baseball justice.