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Cubs in the World Series? Did that really happen?

24

October

History will be a major theme when the World Series starts Tuesday in Cleveland.

The AL-winning Indians are seeking their first championship since 1948, a 67-year drought which seems rather significant - until you consider that the NL champ Cubs haven't won since 1908, tacking on another 40 years.

Heck the Indians at least have won a World Series since the Cubs were last in one, in 1945.

Which is part of the reason that made Saturday night so memorable at venerable Wrigley Field, at the corner of Clark and Addison streets.

 

It was loud, it was crazy, it was packed - and that was before the game.

With the Cubs taking an early lead, the suspense - and at least most of the trepidation - was gone, as the momentum built for the celebration.

And when the Cubs recorded the final out - at 9:45 local time - the party started., the stadium literally shaking. The fans roared in approval, they sang the "Go Cubs Go,'' they cheered wildly as the players celebrated on the field, when they gathered on the stage, when they came back out to share the moment with their families.

It was just as wild outside the stadium, where thousands without tickets gathered in bars and restaurants - and just out in the streets - to be close to the moment. There was a ripple effect across the city, the state, the country and the world, Cubs fans everywhere celebrating something that hadn't happened for generations.

And don't think for a minute there is no crying in baseball.

There was plenty on Saturday - both over the Cubs winning the pennant, and some of the Wrigleyville bars running out of beer as the party went deep into the night, celebrating both the making of history and the busting of ghosts.

An understandably slow-starting Sunday was somewhat quiet, except for the stores selling previously rare merchandise - hats and shirt with the Cubs and World Series on the same items.

Listing all the incredibly historic and cool events I've had the privilege to witness and write about during 30 or so years covering baseball for the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Times almost seems like a bit like bragging.

And, borrowing a trick from Tampa Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, I know better than to try and rank them but rather will say there are quite a few tied for first place.

Locally, the first-ever game in Rays history, Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS and then the ensuing World Series opener, Game 162 of the 2011 season were all monumental. Plus the 2004 opener in Japan; the wild run into the postseason in 2013 with a final day win in Toronto, Game 163 in Texas and then a wild-card game in Cleveland; the March visit to Cuba. Also six no-hitters - three of them perfect games.

Nationally, among so many I'm sure to have forgotten several, the earthquake that interrupted the 1989 World Series, the first game and then the first championship - in Marlins history, the Red Sox ending their World Series drought and busting their curse, and so on.

But I have to say that seeing the Cubs - the Cubs! - win the pennant, and with major figures from the Rays such as manager Joe Maddon and INF/OF Ben Zobrist playing key roles - certainly ranks right up there.

Over the next week or so, we will provide as many sights and sounds of the Series as we can, in the Tampa Bay Times, and on tampabay.com.

[Last modified: Sunday, October 23, 2016 11:08pm]

    

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