There were undoubtedly a lot of people who, possibly a bit too optimistically, predicted the Cubs would obtain their first World Series berth since 1945. Many of those also predicted the Cubs would win their first World Series title since 1908. But very few gave the Cleveland Indians, who have not won a World Series title since 1948, as much of a chance as they deserved, especially given the fourteen game winning streak they displayed during the season.
There are many reasons to be fascinated by this matchup. Both the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians hold the longest championship droughts in all four of America’s top sports. Both teams take premium pitching into the series, with Jake Arrieta starring for the Cubs, while Corey Kluber’s stamina will help fill the wholes in the depleted rotation.
But what has happened since then? Depends on who you ask. Harry Carey, played by Will Ferrell, claims that the leading export during the last Cubs World Series victory were Fruit Roll Ups, which were not released until 1983 (which is obviously the joke). Barack Obama, a White Sox fan, also talked with Jimmy Kimmel about fun facts, explaining that since sliced bread was invented after the Cubs’ last championship, that this Series would be “better than sliced bread”.
A few facts that I find interesting:
The Yankees have played 153 World Series games, just shy of a full season, since the Cubs last played one at all.
The 1906 Cubs were the winningest season in MLB history with a 116-36 record, two years before their last championship.
Should the Cubs win the World Series, the Indians will hold the record for longest active championship drought.
The manager for the Boston Red Sox during their 2004 season, in which they broke an eighty-six year World Series drought, was Terry Francona, who now manages for the Cleveland Indians.
Although I will be rooting for Cleveland, as they are my favorite American League team, I do expect the Cubs to be victorious in six games. I believe that fundamentally, the Indians are the better team. However, injuries have depleted the starting rotation, with Danny Salazar only making his first playoff roster of the season. The Indians’ best player is arguably outfielder Michael Brantley, and he’s spent virtually the entire season on the DL. And although the Indians and Terry Francona have been very successful in patching the holes in the sinking ship, but how well that plays against the National League champions fighting to end a 108 year drought remains to be seen and will likely not bode well.
Besides that, I kind of have to feel sorry for the Indians. Any other year, they’d be the talk of the baseball world, given their lengthy history of losing. But the one team with a longer losing history comes up and becomes the highlight of the season. Makes one feel like they’re in the shadows, I bet.
Either way, one team is going to make history.