After four days of delirium punctuated by a few moments of sobriety, I’m still having a difficult time processing what just happened.
The impact of events conspiring to create the most gut-wrenching, yet exhilarating event I’ve ever witnessed is hard to fathom. Impartial and respected national journalists like Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark have called Game 7 of the 2016 World Series the greatest and most dramatic game ever played, so who am I to argue?
It couldn’t have happened any other way for the Chicago Cubs. No one said ending the longest drought in American sports history was going to be easy — and it certainly wasn’t. Cubs fans had seen it all fall apart in so many excruciating ways over the last 40,000 days so it wasn’t difficult to imagine it happening again.
Of course, it seemed they would come this far only to have it all yanked away like the elusive football Lucy always yanks away from the hapless Charlie Brown, sending him into yet another spiral of despair.
Of course, the Cubs would make their first World Series in 71 years only to lose the first two games at Wrigley in disheartening fashion and trail a daunting three games to one.
Of course, it had to go the full seven games. But even that wasn’t even enough to overcome 108 years of futility. It took a tenth inning.
Of course, they would jump out to a 5-1 lead, only to give up the largest Game 7 lead since 1924 with only four outs to go.
Of course, Jon Lester would throw a wild pitch to give away not one, but two runs. Have you ever seen that before? I haven’t.
Of course, Aroldis Chapman gave up his only home run as a Cub at the worst possible moment: a disemboweling, game-tying, two-run homer with two strikes and two outs in the eighth to Rajai Davis. Yes, the same Rajai Davis I had rooted for as a Tiger the previous two seasons and never considered much of an offensive threat.
Of course, the umpires called what seemed like an unnecessary rain delay just to prolong the agony.
Of course, the Cubs would take a two-run lead only to have a depleted relief staff give back one with just one tantalizing and seemingly unreachable out to go.
Of course, Kris Bryant slipped as he’s throwing to first on a dribbler just past the mound, forcing the ball to sail over Anthony Rizzo‘s outstretched glove….
Only, this time it didn’t.
When that ball disappeared into the back of that glove, so did a century’s worth of frustration and anguish. Lazy narratives about goats and curses and black cats and an ill-fated fan reaching for a foul ball all disappeared as well.
And nothing will ever be the same again. We are forever thankful.