Pre­view: World Series of­fers hope to the des­per­ate

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

THE 112th World Series, Ma­jor League Base­ball’s best-of-seven cham­pi­onship fi­nal be­tween the Chicago Cubs and Cleve­land In­di­ans ,opens to­day (to­mor­row at 6:38am lo­cal time). Here’s what you need to know.

Ti­tle droughts The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. That’s the long­est cham­pi­onship drought of any team in North Amer­i­can sports his­tory. They have not played in the World Series since 1945. The Cleve­land In­di­ans have not won the World Series since 1948, the sec­ond-long­est drought in base­ball and third over­all, be­hind the Cubs and the NFL’s Ari­zona Car­di­nals, who last won a ti­tle in 1947 when they were based in Chicago.

Ep­stein the Curse-buster Some blame the Cubs’ drought on the “Curse of the Billy Goat”, which the owner of the Billy Goat Tav­ern sup­pos­edly put on the Cubs af­ter he and his pet goat were ejected from the 1945 World Series be­cause fans com­plained about the an­i­mal’s odour.

The Cubs’ pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions is Theo Ep­stein, who in 2002 be­came the youngest gen­eral man­ager in Ma­jor League Base­ball his­tory when hired by the Bos­ton Red Sox at age 28. He re­signed in 2011 to join the Cubs. In 2004, the Red Sox team Ep­stein built won its first World Series ti­tle in 86 years, fi­nally end­ing what had been dubbed “The Curse of the Bam­bino”.

In early 1920, the leg­endary Babe Ruth was sold by the Red Sox to the arch-ri­val New York Yan­kees, where “the Bam­bino” be­came an epic fig­ure in US sports lore. Over the first 84 sea­sons af­ter the Ruth deal, the Red Sox lost all four of their trips to the World Series while the Yan­kees won 26 of their 27 World Series ti­tles. Merkle’s Boner The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, but they al­most never got the chance to play in that year’s cham­pi­onship show­down, need­ing the help of a blun­der known in base­ball lore as “Merkle’s Boner”. The vis­it­ing Cubs and thenNew York Gi­ants were level 1-1 in the ninth in­ning when Gi­ants rookie Fred Merkle sin­gled to put the po­ten­tial win­ning run on third base. Al Brid­well sin­gled to drive in what ap­peared to be the win­ning run as spectators raced onto the field to cel­e­brate. In the chaos, Merkle – the youngest player in the Na­tional League at 19 and mak­ing his first ma­jor league start – did not touch sec­ond base. The Cubs re­trieved the ball and touched it to sec­ond base. Um­pires ruled Merkle out and the run did not count. The field could not be cleared and dark­ness fell on what was de­clared a 1-1 draw, cost­ing the Gi­ants a vic­tory. The Cubs and Gi­ants fin­ished dead­locked for the Na­tional League crown and re­played the draw to de­cide who went to the World Series. The Cubs beat the Gi­ants 4-2 and then beat Detroit for their most re­cent World Series crown.

Cubs lose on 10-run rally In 1929, the Cubs played the first World Series games at their cur­rent home, Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914 as Weegh­man Park. It be­came Wrigley Field in 1927. The Cubs played the then-Philadel­phia Ath­let­ics in the 1929 World Series and trailed 2-1 in the best-of-seven matchup en­ter­ing game four on the road. Chicago took an 8-0 lead in the sev­enth in­ning and were only nine outs from pulling level in the series. But the Ath­let­ics scored 10 runs in the sev­enth in­ning, won the game 10-8 and cap­tured the ti­tle by win­ning game five two days later. The fight­back from an eight-run deficit re­mains the great­est come­back in Ma­jor League Base­ball play­off his­tory. Two ti­tles in four months? Cleve­land sports teams had gone 52 years with­out a cham­pi­onship since the 1964 Cleve­land Browns won the NFL ti­tle un­til LeBron James led the great­est rally in NBA Fi­nals his­tory and the Cleve­land Cava­liers won the NBA crown last June. Now the Cleve­land In­di­ans can win their first Ma­jor League Base­ball ti­tle since 1948 by ex­tend­ing the mis­ery of the Chicago Cubs. It would be only the third NBA-MLB ti­tle dou­ble by the same city in the same year, fol­low­ing base­ball’s Los An­ge­les Dodgers and the NBA Los An­ge­les Lak­ers in 1988 and the Lak­ers and Ana­heim-based Los An­ge­les An­gels in 2002. It also would be the sec­ond ti­tle dou­ble in Cleve­land his­tory af­ter the 1948 In­di­ans and Browns, who were cham­pi­ons of the All-Amer­ica Foot­ball Con­fer­ence be­fore join­ing the NFL for the 1950 sea­son. –

Photo: AFP

Dorothy Far­rell, 90, poses with a t-shirt af­ter the Chicago Cubs de­feated the Los An­ge­les Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Series.

Photo: AFP

LeBron James (right) led the Cleve­land Cava­liers to their first ti­tle ear­lier this year, end­ing the city’s 50-year stretch with­out a ti­tle. The In­di­ans have a chance to add to the pa­rade.

Photo: EPA

Golden State War­riors guard Stephen Curry right) and Golden State War­riors for­ward Kevin Du­rant (left) pose for pho­to­graphs dur­ing the Golden State War­riors an­nual me­dia day at the War­riors prac­tice fa­cil­ity in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, USA on Septem­ber 26.

Photo: AFP

Theo Ep­stein (right), the cur­rent Cubs’ pres­i­dent, has a his­tory of curse-bust­ing: in 2004, he led the Bos­ton Red Sox to their first ti­tle in 86 years.

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