Keith R.A. DeCandido (kradical) wrote,
Keith R.A. DeCandido

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talkin' baseball

Wrenn and I stayed up late to watch the World Series last night. It was tremendous fun, and nice to see a game that exciting where I had no dog in the fight. I honestly was fine with either team winning -- both had closers acquired from the Yankees (it actually amused the crap out of me that the Yanks traded two of their three top relievers, keeping only Dellin Betances, and they went to the two World Series teams), and both had championship droughts that predated the birth of the majority of their fan base. The Cubs last won a series in 1908 (the second of two back-to-back series, in fact), and the Indians in 1948. The Cubs had the edge in terms of long suffering -- this was their first time in the WS since 1945, which is even longer than the Indians' championship drought, and Cleveland was last in the series in 1997.

Still, both teams have long had a narrative as losers. The Cubs never quite making it to the championship trophy has become seared into the pop-culture narrative. Plays have been written about it, science fiction authors have made their constantly losing a part of their plots of how the future will happen. But the ineptitude of the Indians over the decades has been similarly seared -- though the team's 1990s renaissance that saw them at the top of the AL Central and going to the series in '97 spoiled that narrative a bit -- to the point where they were the obvious choice for a comedic baseball movie about a sucky team getting good against all odds.

So no matter what, there was going to be one fan base that would be as ecstatic as possible this morning, and another that would have all their worst fears about how much their team can't catch a break confirmed. Either way, the percentage of Indians fans that were alive (and, y'know, aware) the last time they won the series is miniscule, and that number is probably zero for Cubs fans, so this was gonna be huge no matter what.

And the game more than lived up to the hype. The results in doubt all the way to the end. Crazy stuff happening. Dumb managerial moves from both sides. Those two ex-Yankee closers I mentioned both giving up important runs. Rajai Davis going from goat to hero to footnote. Two runs scoring on a wild pitch off David Ross's head. Dramatic home runs. Extra innings. A rain delay. And my entire Twitter feed being filled with variations on, "Holy shit, THIS GAME!!!!"

Now, it's over. The Indians take over from the Cubs as the team with the longest postseason drought (though one could argue that fans of the Mariners, Nationals/Expos, Senators/Rangers, Padres, Pilots/Brewers, Devil Rays/Rays, Rockies, Colt .45s/Astros have suffered more because they've never won a championship, but all those teams came into existence after 1948, so it's not as long a drought anyhow....). Cleveland is now the only one of the original 16 teams that made up the entirety of Major League Baseball from 1903 to 1960 that hasn't won a world championship since expansion started in 1961.

What's especially cool is that, since the turn of the millennium, we've seen several major championship droughts of three decades or more come to an end: the Red Sox in 2004 (last won in 1918), the White Sox in 2005 (last won in 1917), the Giants in 2010 (last won in 1954), the Royals in 2015 (last won in 1985), and now the mother of them all, the Cubs (last won in 1908). You can throw the Angels' first-ever championship in 2002 in there as well, going back to their founding in 1961.

Great time to be a baseball fan, is all I'm saying.

So when do pitchers and catchers report, again? *grin*

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