2016, to be blunt, has been a terrible, awful, no good, very bad year.
Between the venomous rancor of the 2016 election, the death of prominent figures like Prince and David Bowie, mass shootings and hate crimes, pictures of bloody children in Aleppo, and my own personal hardships, 2016 is a year I think we would all like to collectively flush down the toilet. Even in baseball, 2016 was a year marred by tragedy when the brightest young star, Jose Fernandez, died in a boating accident.
As it turns out, the baseball gods have had a special treat up their sleeves. They waited until late October to bring it out, but they have blessed us with a World Series between two ball clubs who haven’t hoisted a banner in a combined nearly 170 years. The baseball gods have blessed us with a match-up between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, two teams who know loss and heartbreak perhaps more than any other MLB team.
The Cubs are the lovable losers, a team who haven’t won a World Series since 1908, although I guarantee you Cub fans don’t need to be reminded of that. Only a few seasons removed from 100 losses, the Cubs have used their young talent and veteran pitching to ascend up the baseball ladder. Now, they are a 100+ game-winning team and have given their city optimism about this ball club that it hasn’t had in years.
The Indians come from Cleveland, formerly the most title-starved city in the country. Until LeBron and Company won the NBA title earlier this year, it had been over fifty years since Cleveland saw a championship. The Indians are hoping they can make 2016 The Year of Cleveland. The Indians have been the underdogs the entire postseason, and they have done nothing but prove critics wrong.
No matter who wins, a city will either be uplifted beyond words or crushed beyond belief.
No matter who wins, we get to see some of the best young starters play on the biggest stage.
No matter who wins, the fans get to see some of the best baseball we have seen all year.
No matter who wins, sports fans get to escape from the world for a few more hours.
Tomorrow, we have to go back to nothing but election rhetoric. We have to bear witness to more slandering of women, minorities, Muslims, and more. We have to go back to our jobs. We have to go back to facing our fears, obstacles, and trials. We have to go to back to hearing ESPN talk endless about Tom Brady and Steph Curry. We have to go back to hearing about those goddamn Dallas Cowboys.
But tomorrow, we also get to start dreaming about whether our team will be at the World Series next year. We will slowly start to get our optimism for our teams back.
But, for tonight, let’s escape one more time into the comforting arms of the 2016 World Series.
Let’s embrace what is left of the World Series that America needs. We don’t deserve it, but gosh darn it we need it.