CLEVELAND – You just kinda hoped that this would have been one of those times where cliches were tossed to the side to be used for another day.
Seriously, just another game? Not possible.
Not when the franchise you play for is in a contest to win a World Series for just the fourth time in history. Not when the chance to end 108-years of championship frustration remains 27 outs and a couple of runs away. Not when a national and worldwide fan base is ready to explode with joy or sorrow as the team trots onto Progressive Field Wednesday.
Especially not when the Cubs take part in what many consider to be the biggest event in Chicago sports history. Hyperbole, you say? Finding a moment that tops it will make for a good debate in the winter months.
So there is no way that this could even be hinted at as being just another game, right?
“Yeah, I mean, anybody who plays this game grows up dreaming of winning a World Series,” said Kris Bryant when asked about the deciding game, refraining from any cliches. “You know, we get to play in a Game 7 tomorrow; that’s pretty special.”
Most of the Cubs acknowledged that after beating the Indians in Game 6 to force the historic meeting on Wednesday night. That includes starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who will get the ball first for the Cubs on Wednesday night. The 26-year old, who made his Major League debut just over two years ago, joins Hank Borowy as the only Game 7 World Series starters in Cubs history.
“This is the ultimate dream. You dream of getting to the World Series, winning the World Series. When you’re out in your backyard as a kid, playing Little League at the field with your friends, this is the moment you dream about,” said Hendricks. “Game 7, 3-2, two outs, something like that, bottom of the 9th. But it’s always Game 7 of the World Series.
“I’m just going to embrace the opportunity like I have the rest of this postseason, honestly. Approach it like any other game, simple thoughts, the same old thing.”
OK, that had a bit of cliche in it. But you can’t blame them….right?
One thing is for sure, the season ends one way or the other tonight in Cleveland. Perhaps that is the simple way to look at it for some of the younger Cubs.
“It’s the last game of the season, you’re going to put it all out there on the line,” said Kyle Schwarber. “You’ve just got to have trust in yourself, trust in your teammates and plan that we’re going to go out there and do our thing.”
Should they do so they’ll become the sixth team in MLB history to rally from 3-1 down to win a World Series. Of course, it snaps the team’s dubious Fall Classic title drought that’s been apart of American sporting culture over the past century, giving a tormented fanbase the chance to throw the party of a lifetime.
“For me personally, like I said, winning it is winning it. That speaks for itself,” said Maddon when asked about the historical significance of the moment. “The part that I really, if I had to deal with one component of that, you know, because I talk about my dad a lot, it would be the family structure of the Cubs fans and the organization, and Mr. Ricketts and his family, and Theo and Jed. That’s where my first thoughts are going to go to with all that.
“Yeah, of course we’d like to win it. We’d like to win it for ourselves, but we’d like have the fans truly do what they wanted to do for a long time, and that would be outstanding to watch.”
A moment that will leave even the biggest users of cliches speechless.