CLEVELAND – Not everyone’s back from that night about 17 months ago, but there are a lot.
When those remaining members of the 2016 Cubs arrive at Progressive Field on Tuesday, expect a big smile on their face.
For the first time since winning the World Series in the stadium on the night November 2, 2016 and early into the morning on November 3rd Joe Maddon’s team returns to Cleveland to face the Indians in the first of a quick two-game series in Cleveland.
The sight of the ballpark immediately conjures up memories of the drama-packed Game 7, in which the Cubs grabbed a four-run lead, took a three-run advantage to the 8th, lost it, then sat through a 17-minute rain delay before scoring two runs in the top of the tenth, then let the Indians get one back in the bottom half.
Finally, at 11:47 PM Central Time, 12:47 AM Eastern Time, Mike Montgomery got Michael Martinez to ground out to a charging Kris Bryant at first to seal an 8-7 victory. The sight of Anthony Rizzo raising his arms in celebration after catching the last out was one for sore Cubs’ fans eyes as the team won their first championship in 108 years.
Since then, the rain and champagne that soaked Progressive Field that night has dried, and each team is already in the midst of their pursuit for a championship.
So far the Cubs enter the match-up with a 10-9 record that is as up-and-down as it might look, and reflective of the weather the team has faced the first four weeks of the season. Around five postponements have been flashes of the group many saw as a favorite after a being World Series “hungover” in 2017, while at the same time plagued by inconsistent hitting and pitching.
Meanwhile the Indians, who followed up their runner-up in 2016 with an American League-best 102 wins only to lose in the Division Series to the Yankees, are atop the AL Central with a 12-8 record. They won their last three games of their series against the Orioles in Baltimore, but like the Cubs have struggled with dodging the weather, losing their last two games before a six-game road trip at Progressive Field due to bad conditions.
That could be the case again, as a 70 percent chance of showers is predicted around the 6:10 PM Eastern Time start on Tuesday. Since it’s the Cubs’ only trip into town, there will be an emphasis to get the game in if possible.
Anyways, Maddon’s team won’t mind the delay. It worked out pretty good last time in they were in this place.