After a 108-year wait for a World Series championship, the Cubs had to wait just a little longer and the brief rain delay came at exactly the right time for Jason Heyward to give the players a pep talk.
A 17-minute delay followed the ninth inning, then Ben Zobrist smacked a tiebreaking RBI double in a two-run 10th that lifted the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Indians on Wednesday night in Game 7.
“It was like a heavyweight fight, man,”
said Zobrist, who was named World Series MVP.
“Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out.
The Indians never gave up either, and I can’t believe we’re finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy.”
Game 7 of a series in any sport is significant, but this was more than a baseball game to Cubs fans.
This win ended more than a century of frustration as the Cubs won their first championship since 1908, ending the longest drought in professional sports.
This was for Ernie and Ronnie and Billy and many more.
“It’s really great for our entire Cub-dom to get beyond that moment and continue to move forward,”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said,
“because now, based on the young players we have in this organization, we have an opportunity to be good for a long time, and without any constraints, without any of the negative dialogue.”
Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez and David Ross each homered, and the Cubs had leads of 5-1 and 6-3, but the Indians rallied against Aroldis Chapman in the eighth, tying the game at 6 on Rajai Davis’ two-run homer.
The Cubs are the first team to come back from a three-games-to-one deficit and win Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pirates.
The rain delay gave both teams and the sellout crowd a chance to regroup and breathe.
It also prompted Heyward to gather the players in the weight room.
“That moment, I felt like I had to vent a little bit and we had a big chance to win the game or take the lead in the game and we got thrown a curveball,”
“It’s about the whole team, and I just had to let them know I loved them, and I had to let them know we won 103 games because we overcame every bit of adversity that we had thrown at us to this point.
We needed 114 wins and I told them everybody in this room could go out and get that 114th win.”