… in a classic World Series and now the Round Table crew offers some thoughts about what went down…
1) It’s over… the Cubs win and they have broken the so-called curse. Now, that we all have had some time to exhale and breathe and get over the celebratory blues… especially all the Cub’s fans… was game 7 of the 2016 World Series the best game 7 that was ever played? Or, do you have another game 7… or a game that ended the World Series… in a dramatic or defining manner that you believe that was more dramatic or better in some other way?
Archie: IMO this was one of the best WS to watch during my lifetime culminating in the extra inning affair in game 7. I am not saying it was the most outstanding for performance; heaven knows we saw some sloppy play by both teams at times. However, given the history of both teams and knowing that one of them was going to finally break through added to the fall classic in a big time way.
Dan: In my lifetime, it definitely was. While I’m young (only twenty-two-years-old), I have seen a lot of footage and seen classic games on ESPN Classic as well as MLB Network. This, in my opinion, was hands down the best game seven that I’ve ever seen.
For most of the game, it looked like the Cubs were going to win handily. Then, with Aroldis Chapman letting Rajai Davis have his magic to tie it up, it started to look like the curse was going to continue for another year. Heyward had his meeting during a perfect-timed rain delay for Chicago. They came out the top of the tenth scoring two runs. Cleveland comes to back and looked like they had some magic to get within one run; then Mike Montgomery, who never has had a save in his career, came in and finished the game off to finally end the curse.
To add to it, the Cubs had came back from a 3-1 deficit. This was, arguably, the best World Series ever and definitely the best World Series Game 7 ever.
Earl: There have been 11 World Series Game 7’s played in my lifetime. Clearly I don’t remember some of the earlier ones. I wasn’t even a year old when the Cardinals and Brewers played the 1982 World Series, for example.
However, as a New Yorker I would have to say the 2001 World Series between the Diamondbacks and Yankees take the cake. Especially in the aftermath of 9/11 and what that World Series win could have meant for New York, definitely added more drama for me in comparison to this year’s series. Despite me not being a Yankee fan, and the fact that the Yankees went on to lose that game, I think for my City, that game meant a hell of a lot.
Steve: My heart is still beating a mile a minute after watching this game 7. Back and forth over the last three innings of that game. Then a rain delay? My nerves were shot being a fan of the Chicago Cubs. It was a series for the history books.
However, it was not the best of all time. I still go back to game 7 of the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins. A 1-0 ten inning marathon featuring Jack Morris vs John Smoltz. After the Braves went up 3-2 in the series heading back to Minnesota. Kirby Puckett hits a game winning Home Run in the 9th to send it to Game 7. Then, we get a masterpiece of a game by both Smoltz and Morris, won by the Twins in the tenth inning. Still to this day, one of the best played baseball games I have ever seen.
2) Aroldis Chapman was brought into game 6 in the 7th inning and pitched into the 9th but after giving up a hit he got taken out… he threw 20 pitches… he closed out and saved game 6 throwing 42 pitches… he was, in the end result, ineffective after he was brought into the 8th inning of game 7… it begs the question…
Was Chapman over-used during this Series especially since he hardly, if ever, threw more than 1 inning in relief during that last few years of his job as a closer?
His fastball was still clocking high on the gun but it did not seem to have enough movement to keep hitters off of it. Even a thoroughbred will tire and be ineffective if you run him hard enough.
That was about the only move I thought Madden made that was ill advised. I felt some of the other guys could get the job done. In Fact, game seven, I thought he took Hendricks out too soon.
Dan: I think he was. He threw 30 pitches in game 6, which I thought was a little excessive especially with game 7 being played the next day and him not being used to pitching that many pitches since being moved to the closer role. Then, to put him out in game 7 throwing 20+ pitches. You could see he was visibly tired. Statistically (pitch speed, location) he was tired. Slower pitches, started throwing sliders a lot more than 100-mph fastballs. Just tired. And his over-usage could’ve cost Chicago the Series.
Earl: Yeah, Aroldis was over used and it could have bit the Cubs in the ass. Luckily it did not hurt more than it did. Chapman was their best reliever and their ace in the hole, so to speak. But it was dangerous to pitch him as much as they did.
However, they won and that is all that matters.
Steve: It was obvious that Chapman was overworked. I think that the Chicago Cubs and Joe Maddon, basically said this is the last time that we have a chance to use Aroldis Chapman and assumed that they have no plans to re-sign him in the off season. They wanted to work him until his arm fell off.
It was apparent in the 8th inning when he was definitely not himself. Then, he goes back out in the 9th, and basically just throws sliders. The 100 mph gas was not there. He said before that he was not comfortable coming in before the 9th. That showed all throughout the playoffs. He was humanized when he came in during the 7th and or 8th inning.
3) Last week a question was presented that asked which manager do you prefer Francona or Maddon in a game 7 of the World Series. Overwhelmingly the answer was Francona.
Now in a game 7 full of twists and turns, including a rain delay that may have given the Cubs a chance to regroup after they blew a substantial lead, the Cubs won this year’s game 7. More than a few media people are saying the Cubs won game 7 despite the “strategical errors” that Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon made in game 6 and game 7.
The question: Was Terry Francona outmanaged by Joe Maddon or did Francona actually do a better job of managing game 7 but just got beat by a better Cubs’ team despite the managing job by Joe Maddon?
Dan: I think Terry Francona was actually the better manager in this series. Do see what he had to work with in regards to the pitching staff, how can you discredit his managerial ability? He did the best job that anybody could in the situation he was put in. The team just didn’t finish it off. And, you can’t blame Francona for that.
Maddon did some questionable moves, especially with the usage of Chapman. But, it ended up working well for him. Luck of the draw. It won’t change my opinion in who I would rather have in a Game 7 situation.
For one thing, the Indians had the momentum but a timely rain delay blunted what could have been for them. I wonder what could have been if the skies did not open up when they did. Maybe we would have had a different result.
Steve: No, Francona is still my go to manager.
Maddon made some very questionable moves, especially putting in Chapman so early, when he was obviously overworked. Then, he put him out there for the 9th? OK, that took balls, and it paid off.
I think his players simply bailed him out with after letting the lead slip away, they did not panic. The rain delay came, and the PLAYERS got together, not the manager. Guys like Heyward, and Ross, brought them together and got them motivated. They went out and got the job done in the 10th. I don’t think Maddon had anything to do with that. Francona outmanaged Maddon in this World Series despite the loss.
4) With this World Series crown the Cubs have broken the so-called Billy Goat Curse… Cleveland’s long drought and the Curse of Rocky Colavito continues and not that long ago the Curse of the Bambino was lifted off the Red Sox…
How sick of these curses have you become? Is it time to finally admit that maybe a team just wasn’t good enough?
Archie: Oh hell no! The curses and inside stories are all part of the tradition of baseball and is what makes the game so great. The Billy Buckner stories, Alou getting robbed of making an out in left field, and on and on and on; all the storied just add to the tradition.
Dan: I’m tired of curses. The longest win-less championship streak in major sports now belongs to the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL. I haven’t heard any curses with regards to them and I really don’t want to hear any. To me, it’s just an excuse for the team either not executing when they need to the most or just having bad performances and bad team play overall for years.
Instead of making excuses and saying the team is cursed, just execute and perform. You can overcome them as shown by Boston back in 2004 and Chicago now in 2016.
Earl: I think there is something to these “curses” but it’s also pretty damn overblown. It’s that crutch you lean on to explain why you lost, but, often more times than not, you run into the better team.
The Indians can’t blame a curse for this season. They ran into a team that won 103 games. Yes, the Indians led 3 games to 1, but they couldn’t close out the team that had the best record in baseball. That’s not a curse. That’s just a case of things being what they are. They lost. No shame in that.
Steve: I’m not going to lie, I never even knew that Cleveland had a curse. I don’t really look much into the curse scenario. I boil it down to simply bad luck, and bad management.
The Cubs in 84. they had a chance to win the NLCS, but, the story goes that Gatorade spilled on Leon Durhams glove making it heavier.
Then, Buckner in 86 for the Red Sox, the ball was said to take a bounce that Buckner was not able to get to. No one ever talks about them blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 7.
Lets go back to the Cubs in 2003, up 3-1 to the Marlins and 3-2 heading back home where they had their two best pitchers coming in. Steve Bartman interferes with a foul ball that “may or may not have been caught” by Moises Alou. That’s all they talk about, they don’t talk about the 8 runs that the Marlins scored that won them the game because the Cubs simply forgot how to play baseball. Everyone talked about a foul ball, a strike, that cost the Cubs a championship.
No, its not a curse, it is bad luck.
5) At least one ESPN.com writer is saying we are at the beginning of a Cubs dynasty. Are we or are we not/ Why?
Archie: I think maybe we are. The team is young and built for a long run. Of course, any one or two players can move on for more, but, I can see where Epstein has the reins on a strong horse and he does not plan on letting go anytime soon.
Dan: I think they definitely can be a dynasty, as long as they keep their core group of players surrounded by a solid group of contributors. They have a lot of extremely talented players and what helps them even more is how young they are.
Arrieta, Rizzo, Bryant, Russell, etc are all YOUNG players. They have 10+ years left in them and when you look at how good they are, what will happen when they hit their prime? We can definitely see multiple championships for Chicago in the upcoming years and almost a deja vu of the Yankees in the late 1990s, as much as that pains me to say.
They did reach the NLCS last season and won the World Series this season, so, I get where ESPN is coming from, but, I’m not so sure that I would label them a dynasty right now. The Cubs have some real questions. What will they do to bolster their rotation? Will they keep Chapman? Their outfield has some questions as well and all of that needs to be sorted before you can label them a dynasty in my opinion.
I will say this, the Cubs have the make up to potentially become a dynasty. They won one World Series Championship and they had to come from behind in two series to get there and at one time they were down 3 games to 1 to the Indians. So, while, I am over the moon with excitement that the Cubs finally got their World Championship, I am not there yet to call them a dynasty.
Can they get there? Sure, but I need to see another one next year before I am ready to even get aboard that train.
He was one of the most feared power hitters in the history of the game.
Killebrew topped 40 home runs in a season eight times and finished with a total of 573.
In 1984 he was elected to the Hall of Fame.
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