The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. Say it again and it might still seem surreal. Has it sunk in yet?
There may be in some pocket of America a fan or two 108-plus years old who were alive the last time the Cubs were crowned champions, but it is safe to say every Cubs fan on Earth witnessed for the first time ever – deep in the night on Nov. 2, 2016 – the team end the season as the undisputed best team in baseball. As the players mobbed each other behind the pitchers mound after Anthony Rizzo secured the final putout of the 2016 season on a throw from Kris Bryant, Cub fans everywhere undoubtedly experienced a wave – or waves – of emotions. How many asked themselves, 'Is this really happening?' while at the same time being overcome with elation, excitement, and in many cases tears?
They had lost two games at home to fall behind 3-games-to-1. The odds were overwhelmingly stacked against them – only five teams in the history of the 2-3-2 format had come back from 3-to-1 to win a World Series – but those who had watched this team play all season and knew what they were about; who understood just how talented this group was and, perhaps more importantly, had the pulse of this rare group of guys and truly realized they were capable of overcoming pretty much anything – never lost hope. Some fans may have even expected they would come back and win it all – not in a delusional, fanatical way; but genuinely understood that with Lester, Arrieta and Hendricks going in the final three games, the dream was still very much alive.
Then they blew a three-run lead in the eighth-inning of a Game 7 they twice seemingly had in the bag. But this wasn't your father's Cubs. They weren't going to cave, and you knew it. And they knew it. And they overcame. They have the hearts of champions – and now they are exactly that.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs. Winners. Fighters. Legends of the fall. World Series champs.