Baseball's World Series a fantasy that will come true
All that's left for the Cubs and Indians is a Game 7, to end a ghastly curse
Two teams with Major League Baseball's longest title droughts have gone the distance in the 112th World Series, setting up the sport's ultimate drama, a winner-take-all one-game championship showdown this morning (Singapore time).
The Chicago Cubs, whose title drought since 1908 is the longest in American sports history, rolled over hosts the Cleveland Indians 9-3 (yesterday morning, Singapore time) to pull level at 3-3 and set up the 37th decisive seventh game in World Series history.
The Indians, who have not won the best-of-seven event since 1948, are facing heartbreak after holding a 3-1 series lead.
One set of long-suffering supporters will finally celebrate the end of epic misery while the other will endure yet another tragic ending and be left to wonder if their wait will ever be rewarded.
Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber, who won the opener and then Game 4 on short rest, will take the mound for the third time in eight days against Chicago's Kyle Hendricks in a battle of right-handers, neither of whom has ever pitched in a Game 7 before.
"This is the ultimate dream," Hendricks said. "When you are out in your backyard as a kid, playing Little League at the field with your friends, this is the moment you dream about."
Not since 1985 has a team rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series as the Cubs are attempting to do.
And not since 1979 has a team done it by winning the last two on the road, as the Cubs must to take the title. Kluber's short-rest Series double has not been accomplished since 1990.
Now, he could become only the 11th man to pitch three wins in the World Series.
"Game 7 of the World Series, I don't think you need any extra motivation," Kluber said.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes how Hendricks stays cool under pressure.
"He's able to control his emotions really well," Maddon said. "He's an artist. He can really make pitches."
Hendricks marvels at Kluber's stamina, both mental and physical.
"I don't think there are too many guys that could do it, so obviously he is a special guy. It speaks volumes to him as a pitcher and what he can do," Hendricks said.
Tickets for the game have skyrocketed with some being priced on the open market for more than US$25,000 ($34,500).
Game 7 is the ultimate sports event in the US because no sport distills more hard work into one encounter, and never has it been truer than in this match up. '
The Indians and Cubs have combined to play 413 games over nine months this year, and between them have waited 176 years for their next world championship, a record combined drought for any of the 112 World Series.
The beauty of baseball is in its forgiveness.
The rotation of the batting order and the length of the season define the game as one of continual chances.
Game 7 blows up that bedrock of baseball.
Game 7 is about urgency and history.
This is baseball as written by Steinbeck.
Somebody has to win.
EVENTS FROM THE LAST CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR FOR THE CHICAGO CUBS AND CLEVELAND INDIANS:
- Chicago Cubs win second World Series crown in a row. Lose next seven appearances through 1945, then go 71 years until returning to the event in 2016
- Airplanes are barely beyond one-seat flying machines.
- US flight pioneer Orville Wright is injured in a crash that causes the first airplane death, leaving him with a dislocated hip, broken leg and four broken ribs
- Henry Ford is rolling the first automobiles off US assembly lines
- Theodore Roosevelt is the US president but William Howard Taft beats William Jennings Bryan in the November election to replace him
- The Summer Olympics are staged in London.
- John Taylor of the US medley relay is the first African-American to win Olympic gold
- The portable vacuum cleaner is invented
- The Cleveland Indians defeat the Boston Braves for the World Series title. They have yet to win it again.
- Incumbent Harry Truman is weeks from beating Thomas Dewey in the US presidential election.
- "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin turns three weeks old the day the Indians win the title
- Baseball legend Babe Ruth dies at age 53
- US airplane pioneer Orville Wright dies at age 76
- Australian batsman Don Bradman, in his last Test cricket match against England at The Oval, is bowled out for a duck