CLEVELAND — Oh, my, Chicago!
Oh, my Chicago!
May we never again speak of black cats unless it’s Halloween.
May we never again speak of goats unless it’s about cheese. Or shot-and-beer joints.
May Steve Bartman come back — smiling, chatty, undamaged — and join the living.
May the ghosts of so many players and fans of yore come out and dance with the giddy folks of here and now. This one is joy and release.
The Cubs almost killed us with a rain-delayed, 10-inning white-knuckler, an 8-7 victory in Game 7 of the World Series.
BUT IT HAPPENED!
It’s hard to know how to feel beyond ecstatic about something that no one alive has ever seen happen before. Maybe ecstatic is enough.
With Dexter Fowler’s leadoff home run on the third pitch of the game, the bell was rung.
You could feel the purge coming, however jerkily: 108 years of blockage expelled like a potato out of a truck muffler. The longest championship drought for any continuously operating pro team in North America — nay, the world — was watered with first a bucket and then a deluge.
It was a nerve-racking way to get to this first title since 1908 — going down 3-1 before rallying for three in a row. And this last game, too, took years off our lives.
But, in truth, success was close to inevitable.
The Cubs are that talented, that versatile, that strong, that healthy, that focused, that well-managed. (OK, you want to say the Cubs’ Joe Maddon gets crazy with his moves? Sustained. Emphasized.)
Cubs’ brass went out and bought great pitchers, even renting bazooka-armed closer Aroldis Chapman for three months. And they have their own kids — Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, Albert Almora Jr. — to carry on for years.
But next year? Screw next year!
For once. Forever.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: The Indians had no business even making it to the World Series. They are overachievers of the grandest sort.
They lost two of their top three pitchers — Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco — late in the season, and they’ve cobbled things together and scrapped ever since. They rode starter Corey Kluber like a mule in a wagon train, until he stepped off the cliff Wednesday night against a Cubs offense that is just too powerful.
Kluber and all the Indians — and especially good-guy manager Terry Francona — deserve much credit. We love you, Cleveland! You’re Midwestern, Great Lakes, true blue!
This is the Cubs’ moment. Yearning quenched.
My God, we never (truly) thought this would happen. We joked about not seeing the Cubs win it all in our lifetimes. We said that with grins when we were young. We reached middle age, and we said it with blank faces. We grew old, and it curled off our lips like, yes, a curse.
But the peak of the mountain arrived. In our lifetimes.
There were fans in the stands dressed as Indians pitcher Ricky ‘‘Wild Thing’’ Vaughn from the movie ‘‘Major League,’’ thick glasses and all; and there was the real Vaughn actor himself in the house, Charlie Sheen. There was frenzied Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith ripping off his shirt to show his illustrated torso and lead cheers. Of course, LeBron James was there, too, rocking a ‘‘CLEVELAND OR NOWHERE’’ T-shirt.
But the vibe was all Cubs.
It’s hard to say for sure because the Indians and Cubs have the same basic colors — red, white, blue — and the jerseys and T-shirts at Progressive Field looked like a huge American flag that had been run through a blender, but there might have been nearly as many Cubs fans in the house as Indians fans.
One fan who drove in for the game was Smashing Pumpkins rocker and Chicago native Billy Corgan. ‘‘All the way here, it was nothing but Cubs fans,’’ Corgan said in amazement. ‘‘It looked like a migration.’’
And now the migration can lead back home.
It’s green in the valley.
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