Saturday, January 20, 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.

Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18