There are matchups in sports. And then there are matchups.
The 2016 World Series matchup of the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians is perfect. And for so many reasons.
You don’t have to be a Cubs fan or a Tribe fan to be interested in this one. You just have to love sports and the unpredictability of it.
A loser, a longtime loser – that is, will finally be a winner.
The long-suffering fans of either the Indians or the Cubs will be a lot of things in the end of this best-of-seven-series which starts tonight in Game 1 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
These aren’t the Cubs of old, dubbed lovable losers for decades of disappointment. This is a young team built through their farm system with stars Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Javier Baez. All three are dynamic players, players you can latch on to and root for.
As for the Tribe, it’s pretty simple why they are where they are. They have pitching. In baseball, it’s always about pitching and defense. Teams with both are usually left standing in October. The Indians have a real ace in Corey Kluber and a reliever MLB hasn’t seen many like in Andrew Miller.
When the dust clears, one team’s fans will be happy, relieved and probably comfortable with the idea of death. After all, he or she finally be able to go in peace because they got to see their team win it all.
The Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS on Saturday night, sending them to the World Series for the first time since 1945. That’s 71 years ago.
The scene in Chicago via TV gave any true sports fans goose bumps. It was a moment suitable for framing.
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, 108 years ago. Back then, women didn’t even have the right to vote.
On the Indians side, they had a much easier route, beating the Toronto Blue Jays in just five games. This is their first trip to the Fall Classic since 1997. The Tribe hasn’t won a World Series since 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the sport.
For Sports America, this perfect matchup will allow you to dream again, to believe that anything is possible in sports.
It’s actually why people care and are so emotionally invested. We don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s why we watch.
And this series will touch all sports. Enter the New York Knicks and Detroit Lions.
The Knicks haven’t won an NBA championship since 1973.
The Lions have won just one playoff game since 1957, an incredible feat in a league built on parity.
There are only four teams that have not made it to the Super Bowl. Three are expansion teams – Cleveland, Houston and Jacksonville. The other team? The Lions.
In 2008, when the Lions went 0-16 and took over the title of the least-winning team in NFL history from the Bucs, Lions fans probably thought their chances of seeing their team win a championship in their lifetime were over.
The same was probably said in Chicago. Despite all the good young players assembled, the Cubs lost 101 games in 2012. Things, indeed, looked bleak for a title.
That same thing could have been said about the Cleveland Indians, who went 68-94 just four years ago. They were, indeed, going nowhere fast.
Both have risen from the ashes and on a national stage for all to marvel.
And if that’s not enough to give fans hope and inspiration, the Cleveland Cavs open the season tonight and raise their championship banner – their first ever and the city’s first title since 1964, ending a 52-year championship drought.
Two years ago when the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship, it ended a 40-year title drought for that franchise.
You get the picture. These long-standing droughts are coming down all over sports. In less than two weeks, the Cubs, of all teams, could be champs.
After that, it won’t be impossible to believe that your team – no matter the sport, circumstance or drought – has a chance to win.
That’s why this World Series matchup is perfect. Either way, all fans will feel good when a champ is crowned and believe their day is coming, too.
Go ahead and root. Better yet, dream.
Parker’s Pick: Cubs in five games.