And so, indeed, the Cubs won on Wednesday night and then again last night. So, instead of starting out Wednesday down two games to one with the possibility of losing the series and not even getting back to Chicago, they are up three games to two, needing only one more win as they head home to Chicago for the final two games.
Cubs fans have not just been waiting for 108 years to win a World Series...they have been waiting 73 years just to get a chance to PLAY in a World Series. Cubs fans are indeed diehard -- and the vast majority of them have never even seen their favorite team play in a World Series. Ever. Yet still they follow the team, religiously. Both at home (where they draw 3 million fans in the tiniest ballpark in the National League) and even on the road. And when the team is actually reasonably good, like this year, they are are maniacal, as they have been all season.
After the game last night, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was in the post-game press room. In response to a question, he responded in a tone as dry as sand -- "Saturday should be electric in Chicago. I expect a sell-out."
And yes, he had a twinkle in his eye and laughed.
To be very clear, as Cubs fan who knows the history well, I don't head into these final return home as anything even close to a lock. On Saturday, they face pitcher Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher of the past decade -- who shut the Cubs out on only two hits in his last game the other day. And so the Dodgers should be favored. And if that means the series is tied three games each with one left, the final pitcher for the Dodgers will be Rich Hill, who shut the Cubs out on just two hits in his previous game, following Kershaw.
So...it's still a serious battle. But being up three games to two and back home is a position that's a whole lot better than on Wednesday morning. And so...we hopes.
Fun Fact about Cubs President Theo Epstein. His grandfather & great-uncle, Philip and Julius Epstein, wrote the movie classic, Casablanca.
Here's looking at you, Cubs.
Okay, so here's a bonus video from last night's game. A significantly important play. Dodgers slugger Andrian Gonzalez is leading off the inning. He lays down a bunt -- and if he gets on then the Dodgers start the inning with a man on first and nobody out. But one of my faves, a very young up-and-coming player who I've been yammering about for three years, despite not quite yet breaking through bigtime...until this series, Javier Baez makes an incredibly one-handed off-balance play to throw Gonzalez out by half a step. (He was initially called safe, but the review overturned that.)
But it's an even better play than most people think. Even me when I initially saw it. When I first watched the play, I did so normally, with my eye on the ball, like most people. But because of that, I missed what made the play even more remarkable than it came across the first time. It’s where Baez was playing – you see, because the Cubs have a shift on for Gonzalez, Baez isn't play in the middle of the dirt infield as he usually would be, but is playing all the way out on the outfield grass! And he comes racing all the way in from there to make the play. I totally missed that the first time. So, if you watch it here, force your eyes away from the ball, and re-focus them on short right field where Baez is. And then coming running all the way in.
Following a brief commercial interruption.