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Editorial: Thank you, Cubs, for the thrill — and keep it going

Cubs fans celebrate in Los Angeles after the Cubs beat the Dodgers 8-4 in Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Thursday. | Harry How/Getty Images

Oh, to be a kid again. That’s how these World Series-bound Cubs make fans and diehards worldwide feel.

So many are giddy with joy. A more than a few, no doubt, are a little tearful for the folks who didn’t live to see this grand moment: The Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday night to advance to their first World Series in 71 years.

Those gleeful shouts you hear from the rooftops and streets, the fans you see jumping wildly with excitement, that’s jubilation. Grown men and women become ecstatic kids. Pennant fever does this to you.

EDITORIAL

It ain’t over yet, we know. Cubs fans starving for a championship really, really want this team — this remarkably likeable team — to win the whole darn thing. The wait for a world championship has lasted 108 years, longest in American sports history.

But even this National League pennant has us feeling thrilled. It, too, has been a long time coming. The Cubs last made it to the World Series in 1945, the year World War II ended.

Winning the pennant wasn’t unheard of back then for the Cubs. Can you imagine? They had won three pennants in the 1930s. In those days the team with the best record from the National League advanced to the World Series against the best American League team. Major League Baseball was decades away from introducing a division playoff series.

But in 1945, the Billy Goat curse came along, so the legend says. And the Cubs lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers in seven games.

Heartaches and headaches followed for generations of fans. A blazing start in 1969 behind stars Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks ended in epic collapse and no postseason play.

Fans’ hopes went sky high in 1984, when the Cubs finally made it back to the postseason behind Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe and MVP Ryne Sandberg, but the club gave away a 2-0 series lead to the San Diego Padres in the first round.

In 2003, hopes again soared as the Cubs went up 3-1 against the Florida Marlins for the pennant, only to see . . . we don’t need to go there right now.

To borrow a phrase from Cubs manager Joe Maddon, this isn’t the time to “take a trip to negative town.” Not when Addison Russell is belting clutch home runs and pitcher Jon Lester is going strong.

Like kids aboard a thrilling but fear-inducing roller coaster, we and every other Cubs fan want more of this ride.

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