Chicago Rejoices: The Cubs Beat The Indians To Win World Series
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
No matter how lousy you think the year 2016 has been, be grateful that you lived to see this - the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Generations of baseball fans were born, lived and died without hearing that sentence. The contest ended the way a great World Series does - in extra innings in Game 7. And Cleveland - well, Cleveland will have to content itself with this year's NBA title and the promise of next year. We have reporters in both cities, and we start with NPR's David Schaper in Chicago.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: The Cubs got off to a great start with leadoff hitter. Dexter Fowler hitting a home run to start the game...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah, baby. Yeah, baby. Yeah.
SCHAPER: ...And the crowd at Bernie's, a bar across the street from Wrigley Field, exploding into cheers for that and every good play that followed. The Cubs led nearly the entire game, opening up what you would think is a comfortable three-run lead in the eighth, but this is the Cubs and nothing is ever that easy. So soon, the wheels came off.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, my God.
SCHAPER: Air left the room as the Indians' Rajai Davis hit a home run that tied the game. The jubilant faces in the bar suddenly tightened, becoming gripped with angst and fear; as the game went to extra innings, more anxiety because of a brief rain delay. But 55-year-old Tom McGee wasn't worried at all.
TOM MCGEE: Don't worry about it. We got this.
SCHAPER: How can he be so confident? I mean, this is the Cubs after all, who have famously collapsed all throughout their history.
MCGEE: The old Cubs are gone. This is the new Cubs team. The new Cubs team doesn't collapse. Back against the wall, they battle back.
SCHAPER: And battle back they did, scoring two runs in the 10th and hanging on to win by one run, their first World Series championship since 1908.
SCHAPER: Even a half hour later, many Cubs fans stood in disbelief.
STEVE ERBACH: I'm very emotional right now.
SCHAPER: While fighting back tears, 55-year-old lifelong Chicagoan and die-hard Cubs fan Steve Erbach couldn't help but think of his friends and relatives who never saw the Cubs win a World Series.
ERBACH: And here I am experiencing it, and it's bringing back all these memories of them and the good times I had with them. And I just wish they were here to experience this with me.
SCHAPER: The celebration spilled into the Chicago streets in and around Wrigley Field where thousands of fans cheered, danced, kissed, hugged and high-fived one another. That celebration is not likely to end soon with plans for a city parade and a rally already in the works. David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.
DAVD C. BARNETT, BYLINE: I'm David C. Barnett in Cleveland where Cubs fans danced and high-fived in the corridors of Progressive Field as the Indians' faithful silently filed out into the rain-soaked streets. The epic 10-inning game was largely dominated by Chicago. Every time Cleveland got some runs on the board, the Chicago hitters piled on more pain. Indians fan Chuck Smith says the game left him a nervous wreck.
CHUCK SMITH: So much up and downs that it - I mean, emotionally, man, it'll rip you apart.
BARNETT: Still, he says it's important to keep things in perspective.
SMITH: Yeah, the Cubs came out on top this year. That's cool. But for the most part, you know, it was a great experience, and that's what I look for. Win or loss, the experience is what counts.
BARNETT: Indians fan Sheryl Ricker stood under an awning outside Progressive Field with her friend Alison Heppe, a Chicago devotee. Ricker admits mixed feelings now that it's over.
SHERYL RICKER: I kind of thought they'd be the team to beat this year, believe it or not. I filled out my bracket, and I had the Cubs beating the Indians, so I wasn't too dumb. But I - my heart was with my Tribe.
BARNETT: As the rain picked up, her friend Alison looked to the sky and cheered.
ALISON HEPPE: God's crying he's so joyful the Cubbies won, yeah.
RICKER: I think he's sad that the Tribe lost.
HEPPE: I think he's happy. He's happy. Tears of joy, that's what it is.
BARNETT: However you frame God's tears, one thing's certain - the World Series drought is over for the Cubs. Now, the Indians, the new holders of baseball's longest Series drought, are looking for a little rain. For NPR News, I'm David C. Barnett in Cleveland.
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