Those two numbers put together still don’t quite make half of 108, as in 108 years, but 5-3 is now the bigger number in Chicago, and forever will be.
Or, even more appropriately, Bryant to Rizzo, for a groundball out that the 2016 Cubs managed to make look easy.
It wasn’t an easy play. It wasn’t an easy season, and it hasn’t been an easy 108 years. But the wait is finally over, with that 5-3 slow roller to third.
People knew their story, and people know their story. No longer is it a story of curses, of billy goats, of the most unfortunate of fan interferences in the history of the sport, of Lovable Losers.
It’s a story of odds-defiers. These Cubs became only the sixth team to come back from a 3-games-to-1 World Series deficit to win it all.
It’s a story of focus on one goal that was finally reached Thursday morning, at approximately 12:47 a.m. ET. The Cubs this year boasted the reigning NL Manager of the Year and Cy Young honoree, and will almost certainly feature this year’s NL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner once again. They won the division for the first time since 2008. They had the best record in baseball, and for much of the season were threatening for the best 162-game record in history.
Of course, it wasn’t enough. Now those narratives are all relegated to the sidelines.
It’s a story of fulfilled promises. Joe Maddon, arguably a Hall of Famer already even without a ring, coming to a city desperate to end the longest drought in American professional sports. The prospects with the highest expectations since before they were drafted – Kris Bryant, Addison Russel, Javier Baez, Anthony Baez – never succumbing to the pressure.
Hell, the combined age of that core group of gritty, unrelenting and, perhaps, dynastic athletes doesn’t even sniff 108.
Before this, the 112th Fall Classic in the history of Major League Baseball, I said that the Cleveland Indians winning it all would be the better story than the Cubs ending their drought, what with their scrappy attitude and the challenges they overcame to get to October, let along going 7-1 against two teams in Boston and Toronto that most had favored against them.
When 39-year-old David Ross homered to take the Cubs’ lead back to three, I thought I was wrong. When Ben Zobrist hit the game-winning double in the 10th, I knew I was.
So many numbers have been associated with the Cubs’ misery over the years. 53 managers since 1908. 2003, as in the fateful 2003 NLCS. 39,465, as in the days that have passed since their last championship, a span that saw the careers of Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson and countless other icons begin and end.
But the only number that matters now?
A curse lifted. A team simultaneously closing the chapter and beginning an entirely new story.
Go, Cubs, Go.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 3, 2016