My favourite game: Cubs v Indians, World Series 2016, Game 7 | MLB | The Guardian

    in 1989, a screenwriter named bob gale needed to solve a plot twist for back to the future part ii, the one where marty mcfly ends up riding a hoverboard in 2015. “what was the most absurd thing you could think of In 1989? Gale said, many years later. “What would make Marty McFly say, “what???” What would make him want to bet on sports? and it was the cubs that won the world series.”

    At the time it seemed like the safest choice. the pups were famous for their ineptitude. Generations of fans at his historic ivy-covered Wrigley Field had witnessed failure and poor results since his last World Series win in 1908. Even the White Sox, his crosstown rivals, had a World Series win in 2005. after the season started. as 66-1 shots, but the Cubs’ drought went on for more than a century with no sign of relief.

    But just a year after Gale’s absurd prediction, in 2016, the Cubs reached the World Series for the first time since 1945. They faced the Cleveland Indians who, in a nice twist, took second place. longest championship drought: just 68 seasons, compared to 108 for the cubs. When the Indians jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, including back-to-back wins at Wrigley Field in their 100th year, for Cubs fans, all hope seemed lost once again. But two wins of his own leveled him up and forced a decisive Game 7 at the Indians’ progressive field in Cleveland.

    Best of all for a UK baseball fan, you were in the US when it happened. In any case, it was an interesting time to be in the United States, with nothing in the news but wall-to-wall election coverage as the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton reached its final days. It felt like an escape from the bright California afternoon sun into the cozy darkness of a Pasadena sports bar as the teams warmed up more than 2,000 miles to the east.

    The bar was already buzzing with anticipation, with cub fans outnumbering cleveland supporters by at least 10 to one. while reality rarely lives up to the hype, Game 7 was an instant classic, with all the ebb and flow of fortune and sudden moments of electrifying brilliance and high drama that baseball is known for.

    The Cubs got on the board early, when the first batter hit a long home run over the center field wall. the Indians tied it in the third, fell 3-1 in the next and trailed 5-1 midway through the fifth. As soon as Cub fans began to believe, Cleveland roared back, with two runs to make it 5-3.

    Cubs were 6-for-3 midway through the eighth, a three-run cushion with six outs needed for victory. but baseball is a sport like few others, since with a single swing of the bat one, two, three or even four runs can be scored to turn a game around. With the score back at 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth and a runner on second, Rajai Davis hit a home run to tie the game at 6-6. For the fifth time in history, Game 7 of the World Series went to extra innings.

    And then, it started to rain, delaying the ending by almost half an hour. So it was past midnight in Cleveland when Michael Martinez arrived at the plate, nearly 4 1/2 hours after the first pitch, with two outs, a runner on first and the Cubs leading 8-7. even so, there was only one movement of the bat in it.

    a home run would mean a “walk-off” victory for the Indians. one more out would win it all for the Cubs. Martinez hit him on the infield dirt, the pitch got past him to first, and the extraordinary wave of noise that swept across the bar mixed triumph and amazement with blessed relief. after 108 years of pain, it was the sound of sports absolution.

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