Fall Classic Headed to Dramatic Finish

For sure, Cleveland Indians fans don’t want to read this.

Turn away. Put on a rerun of Jerry Springer.

But the rest of MLB America, pull this column close. Pour yourself a cold drink. This will be music to your ears.

The Chicago Cubs will force a Game 7.

You heard it right.

That’s the vibe that came through the TV, capturing the wonderful scene at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won their first World Series game in that building since 1945, 71 years ago.

After the Cubs fell behind 3-games-to-1 in the best-of-seven series, most thought the 2016 World Series was all but over – that the Cubs’ destiny was not to be.

And that Cubbie fans would have to wait even longer to finally experience that championship taste that they have longed for.

After all, with the way the Indians had pitched in the Fall Classic – blanking the Cubs twice in the first four games – most thought they might seal the deal at Wrigley in Game 5 Sunday night.

It didn’t happen.

Now, it may never happen, in fact.

That’s how good, how deep the Cubs are.

In no way is this a dis of the Indians. They are a very good team as well. It’s just that the Cubs were built to win a seven-game series that ends in November.

The Cubs are better than they’ve played, much better.

In the Cubs’ 3-2 victory to stay alive, you saw how good they are. They exploded for three runs in an inning when they appeared dead on arrival Sunday in the early innings against the Tribe.

Better yet, they got an eight-out save from the 100-mph throwing closer Aroldis Chapman.

It was pure theater, drama.

If you weren’t on the edge of your seat, or bed, you were probably dead.

The Cubs, on the other hand, have new life. That’s what it felt like when Chapman struck out the final hitter to secure the victory.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon, of course, made the right call. That was a first guess. Chapman – and Chapman alone – was the best move out of the bullpen to keep playing.

“That was our best opportunity,” said Maddon to the media after the game. “I thought right now, based on the bullpen usage recently, he’s actually kind of fresh.”

And so is this World Series. People are watching in big TV numbers.

It’s so compelling because people want to peep history, watch fans cry their eyes out in disbelief.

In Cleveland, fans haven’t seen the Indians win the Fall Classic since 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

And don’t think for a single minute that Cleveland fans are satisfied after LeBron James delivered a title to the city in June, ending a 52-year championship. Before that, Jim Brown won a title with the Browns in 1964.

Fans still want the Indians to win, just getting to the World Series isn’t good enough.

Worse, the Indians were up 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox in 2007 and lost the ACLS. The idea of blowing a big lead twice twice in less than a decade would be devastating.

The same goes for Cubs fans. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, 1908.

Sure, the city was thrilled that they finally made it. But that’s not enough, either. Many fully expected to Cubs to win, pretty easily, in fact.

And while that’s out the window, winning it all isn’t.

The Cubs can win this World Series. Yes, the Cubs have to win two games at home and the Tribe just has to win one. And we know the Indians are a better team at home.

But if you learned anything about the Cubs in these playoffs, it’s that they are never done, out of it, no matter what it looks like.

Remember that four-run ninth against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS? Remember the Cubs beating the Los Angeles Dodgers even after LA shut the Cubs out twice in the NLCS?

Look for the Cubs to force a Game 7. All the marbles will be pushed to the center of the table and the winner will take all. It’s the best way for these two long-suffering fans bases to end it. Better yet, we will all be able to watch and enjoy.

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