Baseball

2016 World Series: The battle of the losers

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cubsgraphic October is finally here, which means the bite of cold days will begin to haunt people of the Midwest as they prepare for the cold months to come. However, amidst all of this cold arises an annual sports tradition that warms people unlike any other. We’re talking about Major League Baseball’s “Fall Classic,” better known as the World Series. This annual “right-of-passage” for baseball’s elite grants one team the opportunity to experience the most momentous occasion in all of baseball. The season began with the wee days of April bringing about the hopes for all 30 major league clubs, but by the end of September only 10 were granted access to the postseason. Throughout the first few weeks of October, some teams’ hopes were restored as they dreamt of retaking their postseason glory, while also sending some teams packing earlier than they would have hoped. The 10 teams were trimmed to eight. The eight dwindled down to four, until Oct. 22 arrived, and finally paved way for the final two teams who will play on baseball’s highest stage. The two teams to compete are the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. Yes, you heard that correctly; I’m not lying to you. Believe it or not, the two teams with the longest championship droughts in the MLB are vying for the title of champion. The Indians come in with a championship drought that dates back to the year 1948, whereas the Cubs have been held without a championship since 1908. No pressure there, huh? Each side has been debating, practically since the dawn of creation, one question: “Who’s had it worst?” On one hand, you have the Indians. Some would say that Cleveland has become a city famous for destroying the sports dreams of its natives. Until the Cleveland Cavaliers won an NBA title this past summer, Cleveland had been without a sports championship of any kind since the Cleveland Browns captured an NFL Championship in 1964, three years prior to the re-naming of the title to the current Super Bowl. 1948 was the last time that this city was able to rejoice in the accomplishments of its baseball club. Since then, the team has been through countless losing seasons; painful years pursuing greatness that ended in elimination campaigns, and not to mention the unbearable glimmers of hopes dashed when the club made it to the World Series in 1995 and 1997 but still came up just short. How short? Well, in 1997 the Cleveland Indians lost game seven of the World Series even though they had the lead with one out in the final frame of regulation. What a comeback for the Miami Marlins, but all that the Indians fans remember from that series is the heartache it brought. No team could have possibly had it worse than that, right? Enter the scene, “the lovable losers,” also known as the Chicago Cubs. This ball club didn’t get this painful “loser” nickname overnight. No, it took years and years of agony-filled campaigns, always ending with the unwilling admission of defeat that the club knows all too well. The team has gone through 108 years of trials since winning its last championship. To put things in perspective, in 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was still in office as President of the United States, and the zipper, Oreos and stainless steel had yet to be invented. The Cubs are looking to win it all this year, but to be honest, just making it to the World Series has been a big enough struggle of its own, let alone winning the series. 2016 is the first year that the Cubs are attending the World Series since 1945, three years prior to Cleveland’s last Series victory. Time and time again, the lovable losers have come oh-so-close. In fact, they’re so “good” at not winning that they even patented a recurring phrase of their own, “there’s always next year.” People have blamed billy goats, black cats and an overwhelming hatred for one Steve Bartman for the fan base’s superstitious failures. Many have begun to believe superstitiously that the team is battling much more than just baseball teams. Some believe that they are battling against the presence of supernatural curses. Believe what you want in fate, destiny and more than enough hard times for one lifetime, but one thing is still true: these ball clubs are thirsty for victory. Both had a very impressive regular season. The Cubs held the best record in baseball with a record of 103-58 while the Indians held an impressive 94-67 record. The Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants 3-1 in the best of five-game National League Division Series and advanced on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the National League Championship Series, the Cubs bested the Dodgers in six games to win the best-of-seven-game series and advance to the World Series. The Indians took care of business pretty much from the beginning of the postseason until arriving at the World Series. They swept the Boston Red Sox in three games to advance to the American League Championship Series, where they would go on to win the Championship Series in five games against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cubs enter the World Series with both a dynamic offense that scored 31 runs in the NLCS and a stellar defense that boasts as being at an historic high point. The Indians come in as the underdog riding immense postseason momentum, having only lost one game since the beginning of the postseason. The World Series begins tonight, Oct. 25, as these two historically bad ball clubs settle their differences with the world and prove one thing: Who wants it more? Only one can be crowned champion. As for the other team, they’ll continue to mourn another failed attempt at glory and maybe, while they’re at it, will remember to wear their lucky socks and throw some salt over their left shoulder. After all, there’s always next year…
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