108 years in the making: the Chicago Cubs are champions!

By: Kyle Leaver

         Staff Writer, Palm Beach Gardens/Lake Worth Campus

The Chicago Cubs and their fans have waited patiently for 108 years for a championship. From the Curse of the Billy Goat in the 1945 World Series to the Steve Bartman incident in 2003, the Cubs have been arguably the most unfortunate organization in Major League Baseball. However, on November 2nd, 2016, Chicago defeated the Cleveland Indians to finally capture that elusive World Series title.

The series as a whole was gut-wrenching, but the intensity between both ball clubs was at a fever-pitch in Game 7. Hudson McCall, the head coach of Palm Beach State College’s women’s softball team, was so fixated on the game that he “did not miss a single pitch from that game.” McCall also said that “it was stressful just watching them play.” From the first pitch to the last at bat of the game, every spectator was sitting on pins and needles. The 8th inning was cataclysmic for the Cubs, giving up three runs to squander their lead and letting the Cleveland Indians tie the game at eight all. When it seemed as if the Cubs magical run was going to be short lived, the team roared back with two runs in the top of the 10th to take the lead. The Cleveland Indians retaliated by coming back in the bottom of the 10th to score one run. Cleveland’s last ditch effort was thwarted when Indians infielder Michael Martinez hit a slow dribbler to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant sealed the game by throwing a dart to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to win the World Series.

Parkland, Florida native Anthony Rizzo has been with the Cubs through the team’s darkest hours and brightest moments. Rizzo is unique in the fact that he has been on a team with one-hundred losses (2012 Chicago Cubs) and a team with one-hundred wins (2016 Chicago Cubs). McCall appreciates players like Rizzo, saying “when you stick with your team through thick and thin, you must feel on top of the world when you win.” After signing a forty-one million-dollar deal for seven years in 2013, Rizzo officially committed himself to making the Cubs champions once again.

Chicago’s recent success might not have happened if they had never signed Theo Epstein as their team president. The 42-year-old Epstein has worked his way into becoming one of the best team presidents in Major League history. Epstein made his initial mark on the game when he helped break the 84-year-old “Curse of the Bambino” by leading the Boston Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2004. After being hired as the Cubs president in 2011, Epstein ended another championship drought by leading Chicago to their first World Series title in 108 years. Epstein has assembled a potential dynasty in Chicago due to the youth and extraordinary talent on their roster. The average age of the Cubs roster is 28 years old, with superstar players such as Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber making up most of their youth movement. All of these young players are under contract until 2022, which makes Hudson McCall believe that the Cubs “might go beyond baseball” in upcoming seasons.