Thursday, November 03, 2016

Congratulations Chicago

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for winning the World Series, their first in 108 years, the longest period without a championship in American sports.

They were also the first team since the 1979 Pirates to be down 3 games to 1 and win the Series on the road.  I sure remember the feelings from that series--I watched every minute of it (except when I was pacing around in the next room) and I recall the feeling when it was over.  It was the third Pirates world championship in my lifetime, and so far the last.  But Pittsburgh also had a long drought--before 1960 they hadn't won it since 1925.

I loved the stories of the Chicago fans, sacrificing seeing the game to gather together outside Wrigley Field.  And the stories about the memories of absent fans, family and friends who didn't live to see this.  Getting into the Series seemed to reawakened memories of them.

As for this seventh game, the Cubs had it won until the 8th inning, just as the Giants had their last game won until the 9th.  Like the Giants in that game, the Cubs saw their closer fail--only they have one of the top closers in the game, who was just gassed from recent appearances.  But they didn't lose it, they were tied, and went to extra innings.

But before the 10th started, there was a rain delay, something like 17 minutes.  I can't imagine what that was like for the teams.  Maybe it settled the Cubs down, who knows?

But in the 10th they scored the go-ahead runs exactly as they came back against the Giants, with opportune hitting: going with the pitches, finding the holes.  Of course, earlier homers helped, as did terrific base running.  Both teams made big mistakes, and big plays.  Cleveland got closer but couldn't prevail.  It ended with the tying run on first, 8-7.

I admit that once the Series started I was rooting for the Cubs.  I went to college in Illinois and I thought about all my classmates from Chicago.  John Podesta being one.  But then Hillary and Barack are also Chicago people.

On the other hand, being from the Pittsburgh area, hating Cleveland teams is second nature, and I particularly hate the racist name and logo of their baseball team. So I sure wasn't rooting for them.

The Cubs are a young team, and they'll probably be a factor for years to come.  Right now they're world champs, and there's going to be some joy for awhile in Chicago.

The NBA season has started.  The Warriors ended all suspense about how many games they would win in a row to start the season.  Turned out: none.  But they've won three games since, starting to get it together against Portland the other night. Thursday they face the Thunder, and all eyes will be on Durant and Westbrook playing against each other.  Plus Durant has to score 20 to keep his streak going, to match Michael Jordan for second most consecutive number of games with 20 or more points.

Durant looks great but it's Curry who is a big relief--after his injuries hampered him in the finals, he looks like his old self, moving, shedding defenders, hitting lightning-quick release and otherwise impossible 3s.

It's probably too early to tell, but I get the sense that there's a lot more parity in the NBA than sport writers said.  It's supposed to be a boring year, but I don't think so. Some teams look better than they're supposed to.  Could be a more competitive year than the experts think.