Enough drama for anybody
Game 7 could be start of a baseball renaissance
CHICAGO — Baseball is a dying sport, or so we’re told.
It’s too slow. The games are too long. There’s not enough action to appease the all-important millennials.
Commissioner Rob Manfred even talked about changing the rules to limit pitching moves and speed up the action, a knee-jerk idea that makes you wonder whether he even understands baseball.
Then came Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, which should put an end to all of that nonsense.
The Cubs’ 8-7 10-inning victory was so dramatic, so full of managerial intrigue and player emotion, and so much fun to watch that it could be the start of a baseball renaissance.
“It was epic,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “Has to be one of the top three games of all time.”
“Hard to believe,” ex-Cub Ryne Sandberg added. “One of the best Series of all time, and one of the best seventh games. Hard to take, but I’ll take it.”
The epic showdown between two teams with storied histories of collapses helped make it that much sweeter. Another patented Cubs collapse was about to happen, only for a vintage Indians meltdown to swallow it up.
When it all came crashing down for the Cubs in the eighth inning of Game 7, that old familiar feeling returned.
Aroldis Chapman had just surrendered a game-tying two-run homer to Rajai Davis with the Cubs four outs away from their first World Series championship since 1908.
“I about threw up three times, literally,” Cubs owner Laura Ricketts said. “This was one of the hardest nights of my life, including childbirth. ... My nephew started crying in the ninth, and I said, ‘Hey buddy, Cubs never quit. We never quit. Don’t cry. We’re going to get another at-bat. I promise you.’ “And they did.” Laura’s brother, Tom, the Cubs chairman, wasn’t ill, just disappointed.
“Obviously, I was like a lot of other people, hoping these would be the last few outs of the game,” he said. “It didn’t work out that way. Aroldis has been so clutch for us all season, and to give up a hit like that was unexpected. But nobody freaked out. Everyone just kind of held together, kept moving forward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon holds the Commissioner’s Trophy as Ben Zobrist reacts after the Cubs won the Series on Thursday morning for the first time since 1908. and finished the game.”
Well, some freaked out, even if they didn’t care to admit it. There’s no more pressure on a player than being in Game 7 of the World Series, and there’s no more pain than being pegged as an all-time goat.
Chapman’s insertion in the eighth inning had America scratching its head. And when he failed in the biggest game of his life, it was all on manager Joe Maddon for putting him in that situation in the first place.
But Chapman got out of the inning and retired the Indians in order in the ninth, which preceded the 17-minute rain delay that was treated like manna from heaven.
“The best rain delay of all time,” Anthony Rizzo said.
There are no stats to quantify the value of rain delays, but this one was important because of the words of Jason Heyward, who gathered the team together and told themthis wasthe time to show what they were made of.
“It was information we already knew,” Addison Russell said. “Just reiterating it and putting it in a [different] way. J-Hey said it so beautifully, and we all came together.”
In the end, Game7wasnottooslow, it was not too long, and there was enough action to satisfy any generation, even one with a short attention span.
Baseball is alive and well, thanks to a World Series game for the ages. Bravo to the Cubs and the Indians for reminding us again why we love this game.