‘Why not us?’ say ti­tle-seek­ing Cubs

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

FOR a Chicago Cubs team seek­ing its first ti­tle since 1908, over­com­ing an­other few un­likely his­toric base­ball feats is no big deal. Chicago edged Cleve­land 3-2 on Oc­to­ber 30 at their iconic Wrigley Field to pull to 3-2 in Ma­jor League Base­ball’s best-of-seven cham­pi­onship se­ries, forc­ing a sixth game in Cleve­land to­mor­row morn­ing (Myan­mar time). The Cubs have Amer­ica’s long­est sports ti­tle drought, with Cleve­land not hav­ing taken the tro­phy since 1908 for base­ball’s sec­ond-long­est cham­pi­onship fu­til­ity streak.

Only six of 46 teams in World Se­ries his­tory have re­cov­ered from a 3-1 deficit to win the ti­tle, and none since the 1985 Kansas City Roy­als. Ten teams have tried and failed to make the come­back since.

“Why not us?” asks Cubs third base­man Kris Bryant, whose solo home run launched a three-run fourth in­ning for the Cubs on their way to their first World Se­ries win at Wrigley Field since 1945.

“That’s kind of our [motto]. I feel like we play our best with our backs against the wall. We went out and took care of busi­ness. Hope­fully we can get out there and win game six be­cause you never know what can hap­pen in a game seven.”

The Cubs fea­ture a World Series­record six play­ers un­der the age of 25. They scoff at the no­tion of the team be­ing “cursed” and don’t shoul­der the weight of past fail­ures, even though the long-suf­fer­ing and de­voted fan base car­ries the team’s decades of sub­par play as a badge of hon­our.

“We’re all about writ­ing our own his­tory,” Bryant said. “This team is a spe­cial one. There 17 times this year we lost a game and went on to win three in a row. So why can’t we do that now?”

Cubs short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell sees it much the same way, tak­ing on the chal­lenge of lift­ing the Cubs above the naysay­ers and doom pre­dic­tors whose mantra has been “Wait un­til next year”,

“We’re mak­ing his­tory. Why stop?” Rus­sell said. “This is en­ter­tain­ing to us. It’s fun and we live for this. We see a lot of chal­lenges ahead of us. We em­brace them. It’s what we have been talk­ing about since spring train­ing.”

Game five-win­ning pitcher Jon Lester said he would be ready if man­ager Joe Mad­don calls him for some re­lief work in Game Six to­mor­row or a pos­si­ble Game Seven on Novem­ber 3, de­spite toss­ing six in­nings to take the de­ci­sion on Oc­to­ber 30.

“What­ever we’ve got to do,” Lester said. “This time of year, there are no bar­ri­ers. There’s no noth­ing. It’s all hands on deck.”

“I love our bullpen. I love what these guys have done. But if there is a match-up in there that Joe likes, I’ll be ready.”

Mad­don is hope­ful Cubs righthander Jake Ar­ri­eta, the 2015 Cy Young Award win­ner, will pitch well and the Cubs can clinch a win­ner-take-all Game Seven.

“I’ve never been look­ing for­ward to want­ing to play the sev­enth game of a World Se­ries in my life,” he said.

“I would like to be­lieve we’re go­ing to gain some mo­men­tum from this game go­ing back there.” –

Photo: AFP

Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs re­acts af­ter clos­ing the fifth in­ning against the Cleve­land In­di­ans in game five of the 2016 World Se­ries at Wrigley Field on Oc­to­ber 30. Lester gave up four hits and two runs with five strike­outs in six in­nings to earn the win.

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