This is just the greatest. I don’t even know what to say. The Cubs finally did the thing, in the most heart-attack-y way possible. And we were all able to see it happen. Let’s skip the negative crap and focus on what was great because, again, THE CUBS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Twenty Five up:
Fuck it, I’m just going to do everyone on the roster, sleep be damned (dying laughing). We’re not doing phrasing anymore, right? This was a team effort and the Cubs needed every ounce of effort from every player to get this championship.
- The Cubs WPA leader in this game was also the World Series MVP. Ben Zobrist drove in the go ahead run in extras with a double down the line to put the Cubs in position for their first champsionship. It was his only hit of the game and it was a huge one. I was, uh, less than whelmed by this signing when the Cubs made it but I was an idiot as usual. Zobrist brought home some well-deserved hardware/wheels.
- Zobrist knocked in the go-ahead run, but it was Miguel Montero who drove in what was the real game-winner with the follow-up RBI single to left. Miggy had a rough year and admitted at one point that he just assumed he would be released over the summer, but hung around and helped mentor Willson into the guy who started five world series games. Unless he decides to go out on this high note, I think #wearegood will play out his contract next year as the Cubs primary backup and personal catcher for Jake.
- Number two in WPA on the day was none other than former baseball player David Ross, who homered off of ANDREW FREAKING MILLER IN THE FINAL GAME OF HIS CAREER to extend the Cubs lead to 6-3. Ross also drew a walk in the ninth before being pulled for a pinch runner. You could do a lot worse than homering in your final career game in which your team breaks a century long title drought. Not too shabby, Grandpa. Not too shabby.
- Next up is Anthony Rizzo, who had an RBI single and scored what ended up as the winning run in extras. Rizzo heated up as the series went on and got to pocket the baseball that was used in the final play of the Cubs championship season, which is not too shabby of a souvenir I guess.
- Kyle Hendricks took a break from doing his teammates’ taxes to start this game, and brought his good stuff. With a less stochastic strike zone we probably would have seen him go six or seven. That’s all I’ll comment on that for now. Gotta love having a guy who has liquid helium running through his veins starting both of the Cubs clinchers. Now let’s just hope either he or the next guy wins the CYA.
- Jon Lester came out in relief on his throw day and struck out four over three innings. To be honest I had no idea he was pitching on such short rest, he looked like Regular Jon Lester throughout the outing. The Cleveland fans next to me were quite dismayed to see him coming out of the dugout, they had Teh Big Fear of him from his earlier appearances. One of his runs did come around to score on a crazy two run wild pitch that Ross had a tough time with, but overall this was the stuff of legends.
- Willson Contreras also had a nice game before ceding the way to the Lester/Ross battery, knocking in the Cubs third run with a double off Kluber. I’m excited to see a full season of him in 2017.
- Much like Ross, Javier Baez erased some memories of earlier defensive struggles with a big HR, in this case the Cubs fourth run that also chased Kluber from the game. Baez proved this postseason that he should be playing almost every day, though I think the Cubs move him around a lot more during the 2017 regular season. What a talent, the entire postseason was his coming out party.
- Dexter Fowler got the Cubs rolling by homering in the first PA of the game, and you could immediately feel the anxiety levels deflate. Not that much, because Cubs and all the shit that we saw happen the rest of the way, but it was still exactly what we needed. His contract status will certainly be a big topic of conversation this offseason. Maybe we can hope against hope that his mutual option is the rare one that both sides pick up, but I’m sure the union wants him to go get paid. He’s certainly earned it.
- Forty years from now, I would not be surprised if the one thing we remember from this world series was the crazy, crazy, crazy notion that Kyle Schwarber was able to not just make some appearances but contribute significantly to a World Series team despite having just five PAs in the regular season.
- Somehow I still haven’t mentioned Kris Bryant, who had a hell of a series his own self and is now tied with Schwarber for the most homers in Cubs postseason history. Bryant singled and scored the Cubs second run, and walked and scored the Cubs third run an inning later. Oh, and he also did the whole ‘record the final out’ thing. Or at least half of it.
- Addison Russell also had a great series, capped off of course by the grand slam in game six. His bat was a little more quiet today, though he did drive in a run on a sac fly. Still feeling great about that Samardzija trade, I don’t know about the rest of you guys.
- Jason Heyward once again did not have a great day at the plate, though he made the most of his one appearance on the basepaths by stealing second and heads-up-ly taking third on the ensuing error with the game tied in the ninth. He also reportedly led a team meeting during the rain delay, so yay veteran leadership. He hit something like 20 foul liners down the right field line, so if he works out his unfolding lawn chair of a swing this offseason to fix that timing he could be spraying balls all over the place again.
- Aroldis Chapman may have blown the save tonight, but the Cubs wouldn’t have made it to game seven without him. At least the blown save didn’t mean that we had to see him on the mound when the Cubs won it all. Hooray marginally less conflicting feelings. He might have lost himself millions of dollars on that homer. Get me Jansen next year, Theo. Or Melancon. They are also really fucking good.
- Speaking of closers, Hector Rondon was sadly barely heard from this offseason. I have plenty of faith that he’ll be good for next year, since I hear that the playoffs is not a great time to try to get your slider back. Getting Chapman was clearly the hugest move of the year even stretching back to last offseason, if only because the Cubs bullpen depth took such a massive unexpected blow not long afterwords. Get better soon Hector.
- Let’s stop and remember that the Cubs had a rookie pitcher coming in to close out extra innings of game seven of the World Series. Carl Edwards acquitted himself well despite the run he gave up, which didn’t really matter that much. Sort of. It’s easy to say now (dying laughing). With a healthy Strop and Rondon back along Montgomery and hopefully another ace reliever, the Cubs pen should be fine. Still nerve racking, since that’s what even the best bullpens can do sometimes, but his emergence has been a great development this year.
- And hey, how about Mike Montgomery. He was knocking on the doors of the Wandy Rodriguez HOF with Cubs fans after his first few outings following the trade, but since then he’s been pretty good. And now he can add World Series Ender to that resume.
- Pedro Strop didn’t see as much action as we thought this WS, probably due to rust following his late season injury. I’m looking forward to seeing him back next year. His quick pitch might be my favorite thing in the bullpen
- Albert Almora didn’t see that much action in this series, but he’ll certainly remember scoring the go-ahead run for the rest of his life. What a moment.
- We’ll probably remember Coghlan for nearly re-enacting his slide to knock out Kang. Thank the maker that was somehow a legal slide, though I’m not sure how (the bar audio cut out). I’m also secretly relieved that the Cubs didn’t take the lead that inning, because we’d be arguing that shit until the end of time.
- Jake Arrieta didn’t get in the game, but did still warm up on zero days rest at one point. He did his job in games two and six, and the Cubs got Good Jake for the most part in this series. 2015 Jake may have left the building, but the Cubs still have a pretty good pitcher on their hands for the next year. I don’t think they miss Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman that much. Just a hunch.
- John Lackey on short rest probably would have been the next man up if the game went deeper. Much like Zobrist I was wrong about this signing, but in my defense, slightly less wrong (dying laughing). Anytime we see his resting dickface we can just remember 103 wins and a world series title.
- Justin Grimm was a hot and cold guy this year who got cold by the world series. It happens. He had great peripherals this year, even if the ERA didn’t necessarily match them.
- Travis Wood probably pitched his last game as a Cub, but they were a good couple of years capped off by his defacto team MVP in 2013. He’s death on lefties and will probably have a long career as a LOOGY.
- Jorge Soler had a fairly quiet postseason, going 2-5 with a wind-assisted triple in his two games. Most teams would kill to have this kind of depth (dying laughing). He might be getting untracked with a different team next year, but right now he’s probably penciled in as Schwarber’s platoon partner.
Too many down:
- I’m not going to focus on the negatives of this game, as I’m sure they’ll come up over the next few months or years even. Instead I’ll save this for to all the Cubs fans out there who didn’t get to see this. Most notably my own grandfather, Bob “Bear” Morbeck, who passed on his Cubs fandom to me despite the fact that he passed away before I even knew what being a Cubs fan even meant.
- And of course, to Ron Santo, who felt like family despite the fact we never actually met except through a radio microphone. We all lost this moment hearing the Cubs win on the day he died, even if this game would have killed him anyway.
- Shoutout also to Ernie Banks, and all the other Cubs greats who never got to play in the world series or see this. I think Billy Williams is probably celebrating enough for all of them right now.
- Feel free to add anyone else you want to include in the comments, I’ll try to update this post as I have time with anyone else people want to add.
Next up: Time to sit back and enjoy this. What a season. They did it. Baseball is pretty great sometimes.