Curse? What curse?
“We’re too young,” Cubs All-Star Kris Bryant said. “We don’t care about it. This is a new team.”
And so it is.
Standing in the middle of a wild celebration scene like Wrigley Field hasn’t seen for, well, 71 years if achievement is a barometer, Bryant and his Cubs teammates hugged, snapped photos of each other and hugged some more as a Wrigley Field crowd of 42,386 that looked forward to the franchise’s first World Series since 1945 after the Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 to win the NLCS four games to two.
Inside, they popped corks and partied like it was 2016, perhaps the year of the Cub.
Next stop: Cleveland, to play the Indians in the World Series starting Tuesday.
“We have bigger goals ahead of us but to do something that hasn’t been done in 71 years … ” an elated Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “All night I kept thinking, this place is so loud, you just want to do it for them and our players did that.
“We took care of business tonight and saved this entire city some angst, right?”
Outside Wrigley a sea of fans near Clark and Addison gathered for a party that seemed destined to last well into the night.
“To look at the way these people are celebrating is awesome,” Hoyer said. “A couple times they showed pictures outside. I remember when I got here and they showed clips of ’03, what it was like outside in ’03.”
It looked exactly the same, Hoyer said, during Game 6 when the Cubs, also leading the NLCS (against the Marlins) led the series 3-2 but failed to close it out.
This time it looked much different after the game.
“Words can’t really describe where I’m at right now,” said Game 5 winner Jon Lester, who shared NLCS MVP honors with Javier Baez.
“It’s been unbelievable to be here and be part of this.”
Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks was brilliant, pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and now walks and striking out six. He retired 17 straight Dodgers before Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth inning. He was breezing along so well and leading 5-0 at that point, but manager Joe Maddon replaced him with closer Aroldis Chapman.
The fans booed the move, because Hendricks was in complete control.
“You could have a plan, but if the opposing pitcher doesn’t make mistakes, then it’s still tough to execute,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought Kyle pitched a perfect game.”
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was far from it, giving up homers to Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo and lasting five innings. He gave up five runs on seven hits.
“They were running counts, they used the whole field, and there was traffic all night for Clayton,” Roberts said. “And he gave it everything he had, but when they did — when he did make a mistake, they made him pay.”
The Cubs trailed in this series 2-1, then reeled off three straight wins. Manager Joe Maddon said this last one was the Cubs’ best.
“You stand out on that platform afterwards and you’re looking at the ballpark and the fans and the W flags everywhere, and truthfully I do think about everybody,” Maddon said. “I think about the fans and their parents and their grandparents and great-grandparents and everything that’s been going on here for a while”
Fan favorite David Ross: