By Kevin White
The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, and the victory shows just how important baseball still is in American culture. The Cubs won in seven games over the Cleveland Indians, coming back from a 3-1 deficit.
The deciding game seven had a combined 176 years of World Series drought on the line (108 for the Cubs, 68 for the Indians). The game was attended by stars supporting both sides: Lebron James, who brought Cleveland its first major league sports title in over 50 years when he lead the Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals; Bill Murray, a lifelong Chicago fan; Charlie Sheen, who played Rick Vaughn in “Major League.”
The game was filled with drama. The Cubs had a lead, but it never felt safe. Then Indians outfielder Rajai Davis hit a game-tying two-run home run. This hit increased Cleveland’s odds of winning the game from 12% to 52.5%, according to fangraphs.com. However, a rain delay slowed the Indians momentum, and the Cubs won the game in 10 innings, 8-7.
For Cubs fans, including those here at the University, winning the World Series means everything to them and the city of Chicago. Junior Robert Haynes, a lifelong resident of Chicago, calls it “one of the most important sporting events of our lives.” Sophomore Margo Gislain, who flew back to Chicago to attend some games at Wrigley, never lost faith: “I kept telling people when we lost that, ‘it’s okay, we’re a comeback team.’” This optimism wasn’t shared by Haynes, who says he never expected to see a World Series happen. Both acknowledge that the victory was important to the city. According to Gislain, “it’s amazing to see a 3 million person city band together to support the Cubs. Almost every building had a W or Cubs flag on it.”
The joy felt by the Cubs fans is understandable: baseball seems to elicit more emotion, more pain, than any other sport. The Cubs not winning for 108 years brought so much pain to the city, despite the success Chicago had in other sports.This was the same city that won six NBA titles under leadership of Michael Jordan, the greatest to ever play the game. The same city that has won three Stanley Cups since 2010.
The pain felt by Cubs fans for the previous century—and the joy they now feel—goes to show that baseball is still America’s pastime. Due to a combination of history and nostalgia, these streaks in baseball matter more. The lack of a Lombardi Trophy in Philadelphia, or the thirst for an NBA Championship in Phoenix are never compared to the pain of these suffering MLB fan bases, and rightfully so.
So, enjoy it, Chicago. According to statistical models from WBEZ Chicago, there are only 400 people alive who saw the Cubs win in 1908. Hopefully, the next time you win, there will be a few more of you.