On Oct. 25, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs will begin their battle for the World Series title. The two teams with the longest World Series drought in baseball will see just who really wants it more.
Throughout the 2016 season, I’ve come to put my faith in the Cubs. Getting better and better each season over the past few years, my early prediction was for the lovable losers to finally win the National League title. However, every time I brought it up to anyone around me who are used to the Chicago team’s past antics, they would tell me I shouldn’t hold my breath. They would find a way to screw it up. Steve Bartman will come out of hiding. A goat will break Anthony Rizzo’s legs. I’ve heard it all.
The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and haven’t so much as seen a World Series game since 1945. To put it in perspective, there are 71-year-olds who have never seen the Cubs in the World Series. It was a running joke, all the way back in 1989 when “Back to the Future 2” came out, and they joked about the Cubs winning a 2015 World Series for the first time in ages. Even that didn’t happen. America’s joke is Chicago’s tragedy.
The Indians don’t have a much better track record when it comes to championships than the Cubs, their only two titles won in 1920 and 1948. To make matters worse, the team didn’t get hot again until the ‘90s. Winning their first pennant since 1954 in 1995, the Indians spent the next six years coming so close but always falling short of the World Series.
Both teams have much to prove, but it’s no secret that all eyes are on the Cubs.
Ending the season 103-58, the Chicago Cubs led the league in wins having eight more than Texas and Washington who both went 95-67 on the season. With an impressive record like that, it was easy to predict that the Cubs could finally have their year. That was until the 94-67 Indians swept the Red Sox and gave up only one game to the Blue Jays in the postseason. Needless to say, they’re on fire. With a momentum like that, Cleveland could be the Cubbies’ downfall.
Still, the Cubs are favored over Cleveland. An ESPN poll has 61 percent of voters choosing Chicago to win it all. With the American League winning home field advantage this year, the Indians will host the first two and, if necessary, last two games of the series, giving Kluber a slight leg up as he opens the series against a much more experienced, Jon Lester for the Cubs.
And if Cleveland needs another slight leg up, Terry Francona, their manager has won two World Series championships for the Boston Red Sox, the first coming in 2004 to finally break their World Series curse that kept them without a title for 86 years.
It’s shaping up to be a pretty evenly matched fight between two teams who just want to relieve some of the pressure that comes with decades worth of a World Series drought. With the way Cleveland has looked so far in the postseason, I think they might have just what they need to stop a dominant Cubs team. But not without a fight.
Final Prediction: Cleveland over Chicago in 7 games.