By John Albinson
On the night of Saturday, October 22, 2016, something occurred that hadn’t happened in 75 years. The Chicago Cubs—a team that has been perennially struck with bad luck for over a century—reached the World Series for the first time since 1945, where they’ll face the almost-just-as-unlucky Cleveland Indians. Beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series four games to two, the Cubbies will now have a chance to break the worst “curse” in sports history; a curse which has a a World Series title elude them for 108 years. The last time the Cubs won the World Series, the President was Teddy Roosevelt, movies were silent, and Pakistan just wasn’t a thing yet. It’s been a long time.
By the time this article comes out, the first two games of the World Series will have been played. As a Yankees fan, I want the Cubs to win. As a baseball fan, I want the Cubs to win. As a person, I want the Cubs to win. I have no problem with someone rooting for the Indians—it’s been 68 years since they’ve won a World Series of their own. But 68 is not 108. And just four months ago, the best basketball player in the world (not Stephen Curry) brought home Cleveland its first sports championship since 1964 in one of the most entertaining NBA Finals in recent memory. Sure, they still have to deal with the Browns, but LeBron’s heroics have definitely eased the “God Hates Cleveland” stigma that had been dramatically rising in intensity for years.
Besides being losers for over a century, the Cubs are a pretty easy team to root for, too. Built from the ground up by President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, who took over the organization in 2011, the Cubs have only gotten better since he’s taken the reigns. After finishing in last place in the NL East for the first three years of his presidency, they won 97 games in 2015 and nabbed the last NL Wild Card spot. After defeating the Pirates in the Wild Card game, they beat the Cardinals in the NLDS and advanced to their first NLCS in 12 years, where they ultimately were swept by the Mets. This season, the Cubs began on a historically hot streak, going 24-6 for the first 30 games. They finished the regular season with a record of 103-58, the best in the league by eight games. Out of their two franchise players, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder and 2015 Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, one of them is bound to be crowned the N.L. Most Valuable Player. Their three-man pitching rotation of All-Star Jon Lester, 2016 MLB ERA leader Kyle Hendricks, and 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is arguably the best in the majors. And their closer, Aroldis Chapman, also arguably the best at his position in the game, has the record for the fastest pitch in recorded history (106.5 MPH).
Like I wrote earlier, there’s nothing wrong with wanting the Indians to win. They’ve also been pretty bad for a pretty long time. But the Cubs have been unlucky for so long. I mean, 108 years is, like, a ridiculous amount of time to not do the one thing a baseball team is supposed to do. There have been generations of Cubs fans who have never seen them win a championship. I doubt there’s any Cubs fan alive that saw them win that last World Series. And if there are any still alive, then it’s probably better if the Cubs win sooner rather than later.