We’re getting close people. The improbable Cubs V. Indians World Series is knocking at America’s doorstep.
It’s been over 100 years for the Cubbies, and more than 60 for the Cleveland faithful since the baseball title has been regained in their home. We’ve seen losing seasons, a play that ruined Bartman’s life, and everything in between. And up until two years ago, this matchup, these teams competing for a winning record, was something that was written up in fairytales.
Joe Maddon and Terry Francona. Plastered with young talent, winning trades, huge free agents, and brilliant general managers, the keys in these teams success has been the men at the helm of the team. Francona came from a long, successful history in Boston, and in a few years has a taken a roster of misfits and built them up into a team that swept Boston in Big Papi’s finale just a week ago. Maddon took a handful of some of the best young talent in the game, and gave the Cubs the best rotation in the game, and one of the most dynamic and multidimensional lineups today. Without these two at the helm, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Now into the teams themselves. The Cubs have compiled two franchise starters, transformed a lackluster Orioles’ pitcher into a Cy Young winner, and turned an Ivy League pitcher into the statistically best pitcher in baseball. Not to mention having arguably the most sought after young lineup in the game (Rizzo, Bryant, Russell, Soler, Heyward), not to mention last year’s postseason star (Schwarber) has missed the entire year. The Indians have grown from the helm, making an inefficient starting rotation into one that makes the most out of every situation. Combined with arguably the best bullpen arm in the game today from a deadline trade with the Yankees, Francona didn’t need Jonathan Lucroy at the deadline to make the most fundamental lineup in baseball click, starting with the young talent of their own in Francisco Lindor.
When it comes right down to it, on paper the Cubs have the edge. They’re due, they have the talent, the support, and have been in this place last year. The Indians are the underdogs. They look to bring Cleveland its second major title this year, but have a long ways to go, and with limited postseason experience on the team, an uphill battle will be fought to get there.
The teams of Hollywood’s Henry Rowengartner and Wild Thing (further proving the insanity of this matchup) look to make for one of the most exciting postseason clashes in recent baseball memory.
*UPDATE They did it folks, and Indians took game one. Shutout the Cubbies. Indians in 6, betting on it.