Next year here: Lov­able losers Cubs, In­di­ans meet fall clas­sic

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

CLEVE­LAND >> The last time the Cleve­land In­di­ans won the World Se­ries, Dewey led Tru­man in the polls. The Chicago Cubs’ last ti­tle was 13 days af­ter the first Ford Model T car was com­pleted.

Lov­able losers known for decades of de­feat meet in this year’s cham­pi­onship, a com­bined 174 sea­sons of fu­til­ity fac­ing off start­ing Tues­day night at Pro­gres­sive Field.

Cleve­land’s last ti­tle was in 1948, when 16 teams from the East Coast to St. Louis com­peted in a just-in­te­grated sport. The Cubs are try­ing to win for the first time since 1908 , a dead ball-era matchup at a time home runs were rar­i­ties along with tele­phones.

No player is alive from the last cham­pi­onship Cubs or even the last to make a Se­ries ap­pear­ance — Tues­day marks the 25,948th day since the Cubs’ Game 7 loss to De­troit in 1945. One player re­mains from the 1948 In­di­ans, 95-year-old Ed­die Robin­son.

“It seems like it’s just for­ever,” Robin­son said Mon­day from his home in Fort Worth, Texas. “When we got home from Bos­ton, there was a mon­u­men­tal pa­rade. It just looked like ev­ery­body in Cleve­land came out on Eu­clid Av­enue.”

One team’s fans will let loose with the celebration of a life­time. But while his­tory weighs on the sup­port­ers, Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don fo­cuses his play­ers with a now-cen­tered bat­tle cry of “Win the In­ning!”

“Air con­di­tion­ing is pop­u­lar right now. So is color TV,” he said. “You’ve just got to change with the times.”

Both teams worked out un­der cloudy skies as the new 59-by-221-foot score­board be­hind the left-field seats — the largest in the ma­jor leagues — trum­peted the Sisyphean matchup. While the Cubs play in Wrigley Field, the 102-yearold brick-and-ivy jewel on Chicago’s North Side, the In­di­ans are in a 22-year-old throw­back­style ball­park orig­i­nally called Ja­cobs Field.

Led by Kris Bryant and An­thony Rizzo, the Cubs led the ma­jor leagues with 103 wins dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, then beat San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les in the play­offs. But since the play­offs ex­panded in 1995, only four teams with the best reg­u­lar-sea­son record won the ti­tle: the 1998 and 2009 New York Yan­kees, and the 2007 and 2013 Bos­ton Red Sox.

“I prom­ise you, our guys are go­ing to be in the present tense,” Mad­don said. “I think we all have a tremen­dous amount of re­spect for his­tory and what’s hap­pened be­fore us or not hap­pened be­fore us. But, you know, you go in that room right now, they’re very young. Re­ally not im­pacted by a lot of the lore.”

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