An uncomfortable reality washed over me last night as I watched the Cubs perform the ceremonial handshakes on Progressive Field after their Game 6 win, bringing this terrific World Series to a Game 7 tonight.
Sh*t. The Cubs are going to win this World Series, aren't they.
Unlike many Milwaukeeans, including some at this very website ("The 'Go Cubs Go' song is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!"), I have not taken a sip of the Cubbie Kool-Aid this postseason. No, like one of the lone survivors in a zombie apocalypse, this plague somehow missed me; I have maintained my humanity and am now horrified and befuddled by the sad victims I see around me.
I haven't been tricked by charming new faces or Bill Murray into thinking the Cubs are some lovable underdog – despite playing in one of the largest markets in the nation, with all the money and resources that implies. Your ability to be incompetent for 100 years despite a silver spoon is not endearing, Chicago Cubs. It's like calling Duke an underdog, or that NCAA championship when basketball powerhouse UConn won its fourth championship as an "underdog" 11 seed. I don't know if it's Milwaukee trying to get in on some of that World Series shine or if we're hoping if we're nice to our older brother, he'll stop nuggie-ing and teasing us when he comes up next time and invades our room. But no matter the reason, it's gross, and I don't like it.
So yes, I cheered my brain out Saturday night as the Indians pummeled the Cubs in front of their pouty-faced fans, putting them on the brink of defeat. And I rooted for the Dodgers before that, and the Giants before that, and about 27 other MLB teams above the Cubs before that. But these past two games – the latter I stopped watched midway through to see a horror movie about a small possessed child getting a demon shoved down her throat and trying to murder her family. You know, just to watch something a little less scary – have left me with one feeling.
The Cubs are winning this thing.
The storyline is coming together just too perfectly – the Cubs finally win their World Series, and with a miracle 3-1 comeback as a bonus! – but more stressfully, the series is coming together just too perfectly.
For Game 7, the Indians will trot out Corey Kluber for his third start this World Series. He is the obvious choice, and he's pitched like an absolute stud this postseason. But this is a third start on minimal rest, against a team that will now be seeing him for a third time in just over a week. At some point, the Cubs' offense – one that's looked desperately young this series, but one that also has an insane amount of power that – has to figure him out. And I'm concerned tonight is when midnight tolls.
Meanwhile, the Cubs are sending out Kyle Hendricks. And while Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester steal much of the spotlight in the Cubs' starting rotation, this is just a polite reminder that Kyle Hendricks had a lower ERA (2.05) while giving up fewer home runs and walks than both of those studs during the regular season. He's lost two starts this postseason – both 1-0 losses, in case you thought that sounded encouraging – while he also outpitched Clayton Kershaw in the Cubs' NLCS win over the Dodgers. The Indians have only seen him once this postseason.
Kyle Schwarber, a non-factor at home, is back in the regular line-up in DH. The rest of the Chicago bats look like they're heating up. But maybe most concerning of all: The pressure is now totally off the young Cubs. No one expects a team down 3-1 to make it to this point, much less win (the last team to do so was the 1985 Kansas City Royals). But they've already won a World Series game at Wrigley Field for the fans, and they've already dragged this thing out to a Game 7 – complete with a dominating Game 6 performance. Making it to Game 7 is their win; anything else would be a bonus (especially since this Cubs team will almost certainly be back).
As for the Indians? Hoooooo boy, the heat is on – and they better have poor memories with less than 24 hours to forget last night's domination. Their comfortable lead is all gone, the momentum – not that I hugely believe in it – has clearly switched and now an entire city is sweating itself to death about blowing a 3-1 lead after spending most of the summer mocking the Golden State Warriors for doing the same. And while the karma there would be awesomely satisfying and entertaining, for the Cubs to be on the receiving end ruins it.
God, I hope I'm wrong about all of this – but it just feels right. It feels like watching the St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason; doom and sadness is approaching, and I know it's going to happen, and there's nothing we can do about it. Except drink. A lot.
So enjoy tonight, Chicago. If you need help putting out your celebratory fires, I'll be blackout drunk somewhere cursing your name and wishing this 881-word attempt to jinx you tonight had worked.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.