The Chicago Cubs are National League champions for the first time since 1945. Euphoria blankets Wrigleyville. Tonight is for revelry, for grabbing typically miserable companions and asking them to pinch stunned flesh. Tonight Cubs fan young and old should eat, drink and be merry.
For tomorrow they rise with foggy minds and mysterious bruises and realize that the job is not done. It’s never been about making the World Series. Being able to see the Promised Land on the horizon is vastly different than standing in the Promised Land. One is the terminal point of a journey, the other just a pit stop along the way.
This Cubs team, unlike 99 percent of the versions since 1908, has the talent to walk away with the ultimate prize. This team seems immune to the unique pressure that comes with breaking a real or make-believe curse.
There was no shaking in the boots when they fell down two games to one in Los Angeles after two straight shutouts. They responded by breaking out for 10 runs in Game 4 and then scored 8 in Game 5. With history on the line tonight, Kyle Hendricks was a silent assassin, outperforming Clayton Kershaw by hurling 7 1/3 scoreless innings. With tension at an untenable level, Javier Baez continued his defensive mastery. Anthony Rizzo, once mired in a major playoff slump, provided the power.
All year, the Cubs were the best team in baseball. All year, there have been those who have been waiting for the inevitable to happen, for the other foot to drop via a Cubbie occurrence. That wait will continue.
No one under the age of 70 has seen a Cubs World Series game. Baseball is in brave, new territory. The longest-suffering franchise in sports is four wins away from exorcising a century-plus of frustration. They have fallen short in so many ways during that time. Coming this close and failing may be the most painful of them all.
But for now, the party is on.
The Cubs have won the pennant. Holy cow.