No matter what’s next, remember that Cubs won this one at Wrigley

SHARE No matter what’s next, remember that Cubs won this one at Wrigley

Fans celebrate after the Cubs beat the Indians in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday at Wrigley Field. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A few minutes after I type this, folks, it will be Halloween.

You can make of that what you want, but one thing’s for sure: The Cubs’ costumes have changed for good this year.

No longer naïve wannabes, they are an official, built-to-last, World Series-contending team, now wearing big-boy pants.

This 3-2 Cubs victory in Game 5 on Sunday night was the greatest game ever played at Wrigley Field, by far. And it was a thriller right to the end.

Just think of all those seasons when baseball on the North Side was finished by the end of September, or Oct. 1 or 2.

Now the Cubs have played four weeks into fall, and that is something fans have always dreamed of. Would it be wonderful to win this World Series? Yes, it would. But the Cubs got this far, and it’s been a ride.

Think of the wonderful moments we have witnessed already in the postseason. We could start with the almost mystical reappearance of slugger Kyle Schwarber, his little chin beard identifying him as a medical miracle whose knee apparently is like a salamander foot and can spontaneously regenerate.

You got to hear singer “Big John” Vincent hold the word “freeeee” in the national anthem for 18.75 seconds. I checked with him. “The longest I ever timed was 23 seconds at a Northwestern basketball game,” he said. Could he do 25 without passing out? “Don’t think so.”

To hear Bill Murray channel Daffy Duck before singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was special.

Wrigley Field became not just the center of the baseball world but very nearly the center of the universe. Breathes there a person anywhere who doesn’t know the Cubs are in their 108th year without a World Series championship? When John Travolta, Amy Schumer and Lady Gaga show up, there must be something afoot.

Local alderman Tom Tunney said 300,000 people were expected in Wrigleyville for this last home game. More than 1,000 Chicago police, FBI and Homeland Security dudes — and dudettes — swarmed the place for the three games. Lots of sniffing dogs, too. Let’s not forget the horses, either.

No matter how this World Series ends as it travels to Cleveland for the final game or two, it will not be back in Chicago this year.

Or possibly ever.

You have to remember that. And savor this.

Even as the Cubs move forward with so much talent and potential, there is no guaranteed future.

Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Hendricks, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez — all those young folks might never make it back to the World Series, no matter how great their sizzle. Just remember that Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins never played in a single World Series game.

All stops were out Sunday night, as Cubs manager Joe Maddon brought in closer Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning, even batting him in the eighth.

Before the game, Maddon had been asked how fans should take all this. Should they be nervous?

“PLEASE be nervous!” he answered.

Maddon is the perfect out-there, calm, excited guy to lead these players if there is comeback in them. Who better?

Before this win, the Cubs had a historically adjusted 12.5 percent chance of winning the title. Now? Well, each game in Cleveland is a flip of the coin — 50/50. That’s all it is. Win two. Finished.

A young woman held up a sign at Wrigley that said, “We Won 3 in a Row 20 Times This Year. We Got This!”

One at a time. Do it twice.

There were fans near me who actually hid their faces or turned their backs to the field as Chapman mowed down the Indians’ Jose Ramirez for the final out. Beyond nervous, they were. Terrified with hope.

But for the first time ever, fans got to sing “Go Cubs Go” in their home park in the World Series. Sweet home Chicago, indeed.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.


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