CHICAGO – This morning was different from any other over the past 71 years.
Does that sound like some incredible hyperbole? It’s not.
Not since September of 1945 have Cubs fans woken up to the realization that their team has qualified for a World Series. There were a couple close call along the way in which people woke up morning thinking that a World Series was imminent (See 1984, 2003) but only today were the feelings real.
Indeed the Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series. A win on Saturday night of the Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series made it so. Thousand gathered in the ballpark while even more were outside to soak in the glow of a pennant that was so long in the making.
“Definitely this is it for them. I hope they enjoy this,” said starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, whose masterful 7 1/3 innings of work helped the Cubs to a win. “They have been waiting a long time for it. Best fans in the baseball, most dedicated fans, and they deserve a lot more of these, that’s for sure.”
But it’s easy to forget that one more hurdle remains. Perhaps it was just lost a bit in the celebration over just making the World Series for the first time in 71 years. That’s understandable and the joy was a long time coming and worth the celebration.
While the light of Sunday morning brought the dawn of a special time in Cubs baseball history, it also was a sobering reminder that four more wins are still needed to end the 108-year drought of actually winning the Fall Classic.
“We’re gonna turn it up,” said Cubs centerfielder Dexter Fowler after clinching the pennant on Saturday. “We ended a little too early last time but we’ve got work to do. Four more wins and we’ll do it.”
That won’t be hard for the team to remember right?
Joe Maddon says emphatically yes to that question despite the fact that all but three of his players on the current 25-man roster (Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist) will be making their World Series debut. But Maddon says those voices carry plenty of weight in the Cubs’ locker room.
“They keep them focused on all of these things. David Ross is in here just for a pat on the back, John Lackey already say he didn’t come out for a haircut, because that was the line,” said Maddon. “Lester’s been there, done that before. So these guys, they’re not just satisfied by getting to this point. We want to win this whole thing.
“And so they’re the ones that do a great job of keeping the younger players mentally in line. Because I don’t say anything.”
What you do at this time of year means more than what you say anyway. Hence the reason this morning was one a once in a century moment.