By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (CBS) — At long last, the night of dreams became a reality. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series.
Generations of Cubs fans have fathomed the thought of how it would be. Where were you when it finally happened? If not Cleveland, you had to be at the place where the deep love of this team was inspired. Nothing could compare to the scene on Clark Street, a celebration that waited 108 years for Wednesday night, when the Cubs earned a thrilling 8-7 victory in 10 innings against the Indians in Game 7 in Cleveland, setting off a celebration back home.
Few scenes in sports are quite as beautiful as strangers hugging strangers as if they’re lifelong friends. That’s the emotion that often comes with any victory, and there’s never been a victory quite like this.
The Cubs had a history associated with losing — until Theo Epstein arrived late in 2011 and embarked on a long rebuild, leading to Wednesday’s Game 7 occasion. Gone are the silly tales of goats, black cats, curses and any ghost of the past. None of that matters, because this team was just too good.
Ever since manager Joe Maddon brought such a swagger in to the Cubs’ clubhouse, this team has seemed poised to make history. This cool presence always prevails — even in Game 7 of the World Series. When the rain poured in Cleveland, the Cubs united in the weight room and prepared to snatch victory.
Back home, the scene was different. Cubs fans, so fickle in their faith, couldn’t muster up such a confidence. When the Indians outfielder Rajai Davis lined the game-tying home run in the eighth inning at Progressive Field, the life was sucked out of Wrigleyville. Here it comes again, they perhaps thought, just like so many times before.
That line of thinking was wrong, because this Cubs team couldn’t go down like this. History had to be made this time. Ben Zobrist placed a ball down the left-field line, scoring Albert Almora. Miguel Montero added on with heroics of his own, with the RBI single that would later prove to be the difference in the 8-7 margin.
Optimism was abound in Wrigleyville, and it was rewarded. Mike Martinez chopped the final out of Game 7 of the World Series to Kris Bryant, who threw across to Anthony Rizzo. Upon the squeeze of the glove, Rizzo’s arms reached towards the sky. He looked up toward the heavens before that moment at the mound every player hopes for.
Wrigleyville collectively raised its arms. That’s the immediate reaction to such a moment. Then came thousands upon thousands of strangers improvising, because nobody quite knew what to do. For all the dreams of what would happen on such a night, no Cubs fan had ever experienced this jubilation before. They hugged, they danced, they cried and they sang.
Hey, Chicago, what do you say, the Cubs are World Series champions.
The old neighborhood was home to Charlie Chaplin back in 1915, a year after Weeghman Park hosted its first Chicago Federals game. It became Wrigley Field in 1916 and home to the Cubs. Over the course of the next century, the ballpark would become the very identity for the franchise, except for one factor, the greatest drought in all of sports.
On Wednesday night, Wrigley smiled down at the scene outside its doors at Clark and Addison, where so many gathered to cherish the night. The CTA cut off access to its Red Line stops at Addison, Belmont and Sheridan, looking to keep the masses away. No barricades could contain the energy of Wrigleyville on Wednesday night. Blocks away from the frenzy, thousands more gathered, trying to get as close as they could.
Blocks and blocks of Lakeview were filled with masses of the happiest humanity. They went well into the night, savoring every bit of the moment. They gathered in the fifth inning, to the point where street access was cut off (or so the city had hoped), and many remained when the sun began to rise on a new day in Cubs history.
Sure, many showed up to just be at the party of the century, but this was deeply impactful to so many. Those genuine tears of joy came on behalf of the generations that couldn’t be there — lost fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, friends and more.
For so many years before this, the Cubs weren’t just a team — they were a sickness buried deep in the roots of families. The Cubs were the Lovable Losers that inspired hope of something different each year, only to lead on disappointment.
Some day, it had to change. Some day, the Cubs would go all the way. What a night it would be.
Finally, the night of dreams became a reality.