The Commissioner’s Trophy has been awarded and the final stadium hot dog has been sold, but this year’s World Series will not be forgotten anytime soon. Baseball fans from around the world tuned in to watch the Cleveland Indians face off against the Chicago Cubs in the best-of-seven series. With a curse to break and a 3-1 series deficit to overcome, the Cubs had a lot to prove—but they did just that. Chicago celebrated their first World Series victory since 1908, breaking the curse that haunted the city for over a century.
With Cleveland ahead in the series 3-1, it wasn’t looking good for the Cubs when Game 5 rolled around. Indians players had already begun to comment on what it would feel like when they won the trophy at the end of the night, but the Cubs stayed focused. With a great pitching rotation waiting, there remained a small glimmer of hope for the city of Chicago.
The Cubs came out ready to play and pulled off back-to-back wins, forcing a Game 7. Game 7 is the most anticipated, intense, and pressure-filled event for any competitor. With one final game determining a winner, players are expected to perform flawlessly. Some crack under the pressure, while others amount to the expectations. The Cubs won the World Series in dramatic fashion—winning 8-7 in extra innings.
Whether you’re from the Windy City, Believeland or anywhere in between, all can appreciate the display of athleticism and talent from both teams. The World Series celebrates a long and successful season for both opponents. The regular season stretches across six months and 162 games, pushing every athlete to the limit. Reaching the World Series is already a notable celebration, but for the coaches and athletes, the hard work is just getting started.
Nick Butcher, a current shortstop for the AU men’s baseball team, understands the effort it takes to keep going. “At this late in the season, your body is sore, tired, injured, etcetera,” Butcher said. “The reason those guys are there is because of their mental toughness. That’s why a lot of those guys are the best players in the world.”
The pressure to perform is high, but there’s so much that comes with a World Series champion title. “To stay motivated, those guys are playing for a lot more than just themselves,” Butcher explained. “They’re playing for their teammates, cities, and fans. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that neither team wants to lose.”
The win for Chicago marked the end of a long championship drought since 1908 and the breaking of one of the sports world’s most infamous curses. The reality of the win still hasn’t sunk in for most.
Devoted Cubs fan, Isaac Turner, said, “It feels like a dream. I never thought I would see the day when the Cubs would be celebrating a World Series win.” Turner, and countless others, are cheering loudly for the fans who aren’t here today to see the victory. “It’s also super emotional because my grandfather was a huge Cubs fan; he’s actually the one that got me to be a Cubs fan. He said he wanted to see them win before he died and unfortunately, he passed away last year from cancer,” Turner explained.
Hundreds of people gathered at Wrigley Field after the Cubs won the series to honor their loved ones that weren’t there to experience the success. They wrote the names of their friends and family on the outside wall of the ballpark alongside right field. This World Series win is truly something special.
Illinois native, Dana Conway, said, “The Cubs have been something that my dad and I have bonded over since I was a kid. I texted him as soon as the Cubs won the World Series and neither of us could believe it!”
At the end of the day, Kathy Gutierrez Eberly just enjoys watching a great game. “Even though I don’t know all the stats or the players, it’s fun to listen to people who do and watch a good game,” she said. “There are a bazillion people in the world and it’s fun to see people come together and celebrate the same thing.”
Fox reported that nearly 19.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the first game of the World Series—the biggest audience for game 1 of the World Series since 2009. The dramatic increase in viewers could be attributed to the “buzz surrounding this year’s World Series, caused by the Cubs and Indians having two of the longest championship droughts in baseball,” CNN Money reported.
After winning the World Series, the next step for the Cubs was to head home to their beloved city and celebrate with the fans that cherish them most. Over six million people gathered throughout the city—from Wrigleyville to Grant Park—lining the streets to see a glimpse of the Commissioner’s Trophy and their winning team. It was a sight to behold as millions of fans dressed in Cubbie blue cheered on their adored Cubs.
While the countdown to Opening Day has begun for most teams, the Cubs are just soaking up the moment at hand. Winning the World Series is an accomplishment on its own, but for this team and the city of Chicago, it means much more than a trophy.