Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Fennelly: A happy new reality for Cubs fans

Just like they do every 108 years, the Chicago Cubs are world champions. Naturally it took seven games, the last of them going 10 innings, with a rain delay thrown in, with everything else thrown in, hearts and stomachs in throats, heads on fire, a century of hope and agony rolled into one of the epic Game 7s in World Series history.

Only the Cubs.

Their aching fans on their knees until the very last second.

WikiLeaks has released a new batch of emails sent from God's private server.

One of them read:

"Give it another minute. I just want to take one more selfie of them with eyes closed and their hands clasped."

Chicago's Cubs were then allowed to beat Cleveland's Indians, who nearly refused to be beaten before resigning themselves to what, come next season, will be 69 years without a world championship. That's just stretching your legs in Cubs years.

If this Series didn't make you like baseball, or like baseball again, you never will.

In an instant, familiar faces became part of history. Joe Maddon went from over-manager to master manager, from second guessed for eternity to baseball immortality. Gentle Ben Zobrist, Series MVP, will never have to buy another glass of milk in Chicago as long as he lives. Zo and Joe, up on stage. Just what Rays fans need at this point: formers with trophies in their arms. I couldn't have been happier for both of them.

Life is a carnival, and around the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday, a Cubs world championship was again the last milk bottle standing on the midway arcade, refusing to fall. Thanks for playing. Oh, it would rattle, shake and pretend to tip, but, no, not the Cubs. We'd have their futility to keep us company for the rest of our lives.

The franchise of the Billy goat, black cat and Bartman was prepared to pull another fast one on its fans, a twisted masterpiece. Four outs from the title, Cleveland ties it with three runs in the eighth. When Rajai Davis' two-run homer cleared the railing in leftfield, it seemed conceivable that Cubs fans in Chicago would begin a Walking Dead march into Lake Michigan.

But something stopped them.

Their team stopped them.

History stopped them.

Two runs in the top of the 10th inning, with a double off the bat of Zobrist bringing home the go-ahead run. But they had to hold on in the bottom of the inning. And the winning run had to be at the plate for Cleveland when it ended, didn't it? Only the Cubs. At least when the Red Sox ended their 86 years of misery, they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004.

Only the Cubs.

They took it right down until the last pitch.

You don't often see baseball players openly crying after winning a World Series.

Or a comedy king Bill Murray with his own eyes filled.

Only the Cubs.

I don't know what the rest of us are going to do without the Cubs to kick around anymore. I used to be sure that sports needed them on that wall — or under it. Someone had to be the most futile, most miserable, most laughable. Cubs fans won't miss being lovable losers. Anyone who thinks that they will is a complete idiot.

Not even Joe Ma getting tight (he pulled starter Kyle Hendricks too early, then Jon Lester too early, in the name of the Aroldis Chapman's empty tank) could stop these Cubs.

Me? I rose and fell with the emotions of my friend and Cubs lifer Krup, trading texts during the game. He was watching the game at his Arkansas home. Here's a sampling from Krup as the night went on. It's quite the window into what his last 50 years have been like, what being a Cubs fan and Cubs fear and loathing is like — or was.

I can't stop thinking about the '69 Cubs today. I really hope they win tonight so those guys can rest in peace.

Joe is feeling the pressure. Not because of the Chapman thing. He just looks pale.

Talked to Dad before the start. He said he's waited his whole life for this.

I thought about buying champagne, but I thought it would be pushing my luck.

I can't talk right now … not crazy about the quick hook.

I don't like anything about this.

This Guyer has been killing us. Walks, hits, HBPs.

I'm not doing well right here.

This isn't real. Of course it is.

It could only happen to the Cubs. If we don't win, we never will. This could finish off a lot of fans. This is a very cruel joke.

I have accepted the inevitable. Very cruel.

And then it wasn't.

Then Krup called his dad, Ken, out in California. They congratulated each other. Krup's dad, who is 87, congratulated Krup's son, Daniel.

Three generations of Cubs fans. Everybody happy.

The Chicago Cubs are world champions.

108 years. Like clockwork.

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