The biggest curse-ending moment in baseball history demands a deep rewind | 2016 World Series Game 7


– [Seth] Its November 2nd 2016,
we’re at Progressive Field where Cleveland’s hosting the
Chicago Cubs for game seven of the World Series. The Cubs are defending a one run lead in the bottom of the tenth inning. A Cleveland runner stands
on first with two outs. You probably know what’s about to happen but these home fans do not, not yet. Nor do the Cubs fans who
traveled hundreds of miles in hopes of witnessing history. And history is going to
be made no matter what. Before that happens, we need to measure the immense weight of this moment. We need to look around this field and realize that every single person on it created this moment and that whatever history gets made will bear
each of their fingerprints for better or worse. To fully appreciate
these teams, this series, and more than everything else this enthralling game of
baseball, we need to rewind. Okay, so the big overarching
theme here is curses on both sides. Cleveland last won a world series in 1948. They’ve won the American
League a few times since then including a couple in the 90’s but never won the whole thing. And some of those losses, like Jose Mesa’s blown save in game seven of the 1997 world series
were truly harrowing. If you traffic in superstition, you might attribute this all to a curse that fell upon the franchise
when they dealt away beloved all star Rocky Colavito in a disastrous 1960 trade. Whatever the reason, this teams history seems
riddled with jinxes. And, that old sick feeling has returned over the last couple days. The AL Central champ crushed
their playoff competition to win the 2016 pennant. Then won twice at Wrigley
Field to pull ahead 3-1 in this World Series. A single victory away from glory. That felt like a curse about to break. It felt like a suitable follow-up to the Cleveland Cavaliers
making their own history by coming back from a 3-1
deficit to win the NBA Finals earlier this year. Clevelands been feeling more
and more like ‘believeland’. Well, it is feeling, perilously,
not like that anymore. Cleveland now sits on the
precipice of blowing a 3-1 lead and permitting the end of an
even more substantial curse. If you’ve been paying
any attention, your tired of hearing about the age
old ‘billy goat curse’. But the upshot is this, the Cubs haven’t won a
World Series since 1908. Until this year, they
hadn’t even participated in a World Series since 1945. Both records by a long shot. Chicago’s curse is attributed to the time in 1945 when a tavern owner, upset that his pet goat
had been denied entry to Wrigley Field, put
a hex on the franchise. And in the years since,
they’ve had some truly cursed seeming moments in clincher games. Like the Leon Durham error
that commenced a blown lead in the 1984 NLCS. Or the eighth inning of
game six of the 2003 NLCS. A parade of blunders that
set a collapse in motion but is still most remembered for Steve Bartman’s fan interference. By conventional measures
the curse ended last month. The Cubs won an MLB best 103 games. They boasted one of the best
pitching staffs in the majors. And their entire end field
started in the All-Star Game including NL MVP front runner Kris Bryant. Bryant and fellow youngster
Javy Baez led the way in an NLDS victory over the Giants. And Chicago came back from
an early series deficit to beat the Dodgers 4-2 in the NLCS. The Cubs got their pennant. Any caprine ghosts have been busted. And after clenching
something for the first time in forever, the Cubs made even more magic. Those two home losses put
Chicago behind 3-1 in the series. But they collected
themselves and took game five thanks to John Lester’s strong start and a big fourth inning from the offense. Then, Jake Arrieta and
a homer-happy lineup dominated game six to pull lead in. Addison Russel alone
had six RBI last night. So, yeah, it has
increasingly seemed like it’s this teams destiny to
not just break the curse, but win it all. Although, there have been some pretty hex seeming moments tonight. We’ll get to them. Either way, someone on the
field is going to relieve the weight of decades and
decades of falling short. Held by one of these fan bases, not to mention their ancestors. So we now know why millions
of hearts are in stomachs. Let’s meet the people who will dictate which hearts get broken. The people who’ve driven this
roller coaster of a game. Let’s start with how
Cleveland got their runs, which has a bit to do with this ump. A bit more to do with why this
guy’s pitching for the cubs. And a lot to do with the
fellow on first base. Chicago manager Joe Madden
had a plan for tonight, and he wasn’t coy about it. Kyle Hendricks, the stoic Ivy Leaguer with the league best ERA
had closed out the Dodgers and would start at the same
effort verse Cleveland, carrying the first five or so innings. After that, game five winner John Lester would relieve Hendricks but
ideally not with runners on base, given his issues with pick-offs. – Don’t want to put him
into a dirty inning. I don’t think that’d be appropriate. – [Seth] After Lester,
hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman would
close the game, even though his workload all post-season
has been immense. Including several innings last
night and what looked like a rolled ankle, despite
Chicago’s big lead. So let’s see how the plan went. Hendricks had a great four innings. He got instant run support
from Dexter Fowler’s lead-off homer and allowed
just one run the other way. Carlos Santana’s RBI single in the third. Russell and Wilson Contreras restored Chicago’s lead in the fourth. Then, a Javy Baez homer
drove an unusually iffy Corey Kluber off the mound. Then, an Anthony Rizzo
liner off Andrew Miller made it 5-1 Cubs. The plan was going great. Hendricks started the
fifth still in control. Coco Crisp grounded out,
Roberto Perez struck out, and then on a 2-2 count this pitch could have been called a
strike to end the inning. – [Baseball Announcer]
Does not get the call. – [Seth] It looked good on the broadcast. Contreras framed it nicely. Hendricks was ready to
stroll off the mound. No such luck. Home plate umpire Sam
Holbrook called it a ball, and Hendricks ended up walking Santana. Unlucky break, minor mistake,
and a runner on base. Explicitly, not the
time to call upon Lester for his first relief
appearance in almost a decade. And yet, Madden made a move. – [Baseball Announcer] Boy,
this is an extremely quick hook. – [Seth] In came Lester, a decision that necessitated another. Contreras would be replaced
behind the plate by David Ross. Ross won a World Series with
Lester and the Red Sox in 2013. And, the two developed so much chemistry that Ross became Lester’s
personal catcher. So when Chicago signed Lester
before the 2015 season, they brought in his much
older battery mate as well. But everyone knows this tandem
will break up after tonight. Ross is 39 and before this year, announced this season would be his last. It spurred and outpouring
of appreciation and even a warm half joking All-Star
campaign for the backup catcher. So this is Ross’s final game ever, which made what happened in
the rest of the fifth inning feel like a cruelly precise flareup of the ‘billy goat curse’. Lester took over that dirty inning and immediately dirtied it further. Jason Kipnis just kind of plopped the ball in front of home plate. Lester wouldn’t come off the mound and try to throw to first,
because he doesn’t do that. So Ross tried to make the
play and airmailed it, allowing runners to advance
to second and third. Here’s the cursed part, A
Lester pitch to the next batter, Francisco Lindor caromed off the dirt and then into Ross’s mask
so hard you could hear it. So hard, it knocked Ross off his feet. (crowds roaring) Rarely does a wild pitch
go this far astray. And in the ensuing chaos both runners came around to score and make it 5-3 Cubs. An uncalled borderline strike led to walk, which led to a weirdly quick hook, which led to absolute (beep) mayhem. But the Cubs still had
the lead and Ross undid some of that damage with
this shot to right field. A 39 year old homering
in this last game ever, which is game seven of the World Series. And, by the way, the
homer came off a monstrous and well rested pitcher and Andrew Miller. This was just ridiculous. And Lester and Ross got
back on track defensively through the seventh inning, then retired the first two batters at the eighth. Then, yet again, a weird break. Lester induced a grounder,
albeit a pretty hard one from Jose Ramirez, but Russel
couldn’t make a play on it. With a man on first, out
came Madden, in came Chapman who just needed to fireball
his way to four more outs. A pretty perfect situation for a pitcher who, I will mention
for no specific reason, hadn’t surrendered a home run since June when he wasn’t even a Cub yet. Well, Chapman gave up an
RBI double to Brandon Guyer. Not great, but shit
happens when your tired, maybe a little hurt, and the team’s gotten use to seeing you. But let’s come back to present real quick and notice that, “Hey, Chapman’s
isn’t in the game anymore, and this number and this
other number tell us he struggled to get those four outs.” And here’s Rajai Davis,
ready to tie the game. Well, he’s done it before. Back in the eighth, Davis followed Guyer and after a prolonged
at bat, did what no one had done since June. Homering off Chapman
with an absolute laser straight into the TV camera
that tied the game at six all. Lebron loved it, the home
fans in the crowd loved it, but what a horrid turn
of events for Chicago. Chapman failed so swiftly that if Chicago can’t close this out,
Madden will never live down his closers heavy workload in game six. And no one will remember that Chapman pulled himself together to
at least avoid a walk off and send this game to extra innings. – [Baseball Announcer]
With this, game seven is going to the town. – [Seth] Carl Edwards Jr. replaced Chapman here in the tenth, but
Davis just attacked again. To drive in Guyer again, make
himself the tying run again, and kick Edwards off the mound. If Cleveland does this,
Davis is going to get a statue somewhere. What if they don’t? Who’s the Cubs hero? It’s tough to pick just one and some of tonight’s heroes aren’t obvious. The top of this inning, which gave Chicago this lead, featured clutch
hitting from some guys who’ve had memorable post-seasons. Kyle Schwarber’s one of them. In only his second game of this season Schwarber was involved
in an outfield collision with Fowler that shredded
his entire left knee. He missed the whole year,
weathering trade rumors while he recovered but stuck around and rejoined the lineup,
literally, a week ago. He’s been the designated hitter
for these World Series games in the AL park and he’s done
a great job getting on base. That said, base-running on
recently rebuilt knee ligaments can be tough, as Schwarber
demonstrated failing to stretch a single in the third inning. So when Schwarber opened
the tenth with a single, Albert Almora came in to pinch run. This was a crucial substitution. Almora read Bryant’s
deep fly-out perfectly and tagged up to second to
get in scoring position. With the base opened,
Cleveland conferenced to determine to walk either
Rizzo or Ben Zobrist. They chose Rizzo, putting a huge at bat in the hands of a guy
who, just last season, played a crucial part in ending the Royal’s World Series drought. They chose wrong. A guy who’s been deadly all
series, cracked a double to drive in Almora and
move Rizzo to third. The catcher who came in
for Ross, Miguel Montero, pounced on a pitch to drive in Rizzo. So, there are some heroes for you. Davis is, unquestionably, Cleveland’s clutchest hitter tonight,
which might be enough to win MVP in the event of a comeback. If the score holds,
Zobris probably wrapped up an MVP worthy performance with that tie breaking swing this inning, though Chicago’s production has
been a bit more distributed. I mean, just in the process
of doling out credit, we’ve name almost every single person on the field for Chicago
right now, almost. We haven’t mentioned the
pitcher, Mike Montgomery. At best, Chicago’s
mid-season pickup is going to be the answer to the trivia question, “Who recorded his first career save by getting the last out of the
legendary 2016 World Series?” At worst, he’s about to become a lot more famous for blowing it. But, there’s one more
person we haven’t named. He’s the right fielder and it doesn’t seem like he’s done much tonight. This is Jason Heyward. If at the beginning of this year, I told you the Cubs made the World Series, you would have assumed
Heyward was a big part of it. He was the biggest non-pitcher
signing of the off-season, leaving the division rival Cardinals for an eight-year 184 million
dollar deal with Chicago. But, he followed that huge payday with a pretty stinky year at the plate. This and this were career worst numbers. And Heyward has been even
worse in the post-season, right up through a hit
list performance tonight. Heyward had a chance to score the winning run in the ninth. He scrambled to third on
a Cleveland throwing error but didn’t get home. Baez was instructed to bring Heyward in with a safety squeeze but
badly botched the bunt. Fowler grounded out to end the inning. It was a gut-wrenching outcome for what, at the time, felt like Chicago’s last and best chance to win. But that threatening, yet fruitless inning was quietly pivotal in two ways, one more obvious than the other. The obvious one is
right here at the plate. When that potential
winning run in the ninth arrived 90 feet from home,
Cleveland manager Terry Francona decided Coco Crisp’s weak arm wasn’t going to cut it in left field. Francona had exactly one
man left on his bench, Michael Martinez. So he put Martinez in right
and moved Guyer to left. A purely defense focused decision. – [Baseball Announcer]
And you’ve got, basically, a designated thrower and Michael Martinez. – [Seth] Well, now it’s time for offense and that’s Martinez at the plate. One of the most important
at bats in baseball history is in the hands of guy
who hit 238 this year, who’s had nothing but strikeouts
here in the World Series. So, that’s a big reason
why this moment mattered. Crisp, who hit pretty well tonight, would be the guy at the plate right now if his arm was trusted in the ninth. It also mattered, because
Heyward’s squandered opportunity to score, to finally
contribute, left him seething. And after Chapman pitched Chicago out of the bottom of the ninth,
Heyward had a long time to sit with his frustration. Just as the broadcast came
back from the tenth inning, drizzle turned into full on
rain and out came the tarps. – [Baseball Announcer] You’re
not going to believe this. – [Seth] The game was
delayed almost 20 minutes until the clouds blew by, and the players retreated to the club houses. Unseen by cameras as the
rain fell, Heyward took the opportunity to channel
his anger into leadership. He addressed the whole
team in the wait room, delivering a speech
Chicago desperately needed after the eighth and ninth
inning shook their spirits. Heyward’s speech was still
ringing in the Cub’s ears when they returned to the dugout and when Schwarber started off that monumental tenth
inning with a single. So, there you go. This moment contains
weight beyond measure. It is the knot-tying together
innumerable storylines. It will be decided by a
pitcher who’s only here because a plan fell apart
thanks to unfortunate calls, controversial decisions, and
one very worn out closer. It will be decided by a batter who isn’t really meant
for moments like this. Who’s participation in this game is just the latest in so many
overlapping cascades of events. It will decide who’s heroics
get remember in victory and who’s get buried by defeat. It will decide which
multi-generation drought will break. Which curse will finally
fade into the past? This moment determines one of the most meaningful sport’s outcomes ever. So let’s see what happens. Welcome to a moment in history. – [Baseball Announcer] G01.
This is going to be tough play! Bryant! The Cubs win the World Series! (crowds cheering) Bryant makes the play! It’s over! And the Cubs have finally won it all! Eight, seven in ten!

100 thoughts on “The biggest curse-ending moment in baseball history demands a deep rewind | 2016 World Series Game 7

  1. The Cubs fans that came to town, were the most disrespectful, belligerent, drunk idiots, I've ever had the displeasure of being around at a sporting event. My dad and I have had season tickets to the Indians for 29 years, (I'm 21 so he's had them longer) so I've seen every fanbase there is. Yankee fans are more civil, and as we all know, that's saying something. The world series announcer Joe Buck, was so clearly impartial and rooting for the Cubs it was disgusting to listen to, and he shouldn't be allowed to commentate any more world series. I would like to say however, that I have nothing but respect for David Ross.

  2. I remember watching those games as a Cleveland fan being up 3-1 in the series and knowing that we would need the bats to win a game because our starting pitching would be over extended for the last 3 games.

  3. Its fitting that a series between two cursed teams was a series full of each team trying not to win. (Indians throwing a 3-1 lead and Cubs almost blowing the game 7 lead).

  4. I have been waiting for this one since I started watching this series. Being down in the city of Chicago when the final out was recorded as a life-long Cubs fan is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. Chills. Thank you!

  5. I will never forget where I was , my whole family got in one room together after Davis hit the tying homer , we all thought we saw a gohst, but when the last out was made you can hear my neighborhood scream and my family went bezerk, and we live in ny… Imagine Chicago

  6. How can you make a video about baseball with “biggest curse-ending” in the title and not even mention Theo Epstein…. please send me some of whatever y’all are smoking at SBNation, it must be goooOOOoood…

  7. "Unusually iffy Cory Kluber"? Kluber, Shaw and Miller were nearly the Indians ENTIRE pitching staff in that postseason, no surprise he was off his game by this point.

  8. It might be a little too soon but I would love a Rewinder of Evgeny Kuznetsov's overtime winning goal in Game Six of the 2018 Second Round.

  9. a few suggestions for future rewinder videos:
    Joe Carter's walk off home run in game 6 of the 1993 world series
    the crazy ending in the Miami-Duke game in 2015
    the crazy ending in the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game in 2016

  10. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, going into it, was arguably the most hyped and most significant game in the history of baseball. As a Giants fan with no horse in the race, I was excited to watch history.

    The game itself, very fortunately, did not disappoint, and only elevated its significance IMHO.

  11. Best video I’ve seen all year! I still feel the drunk anxiety and almost crying due to joe Maddon! Boi what a night! #gocubs

  12. I want to point out that Chapman's 9th inning albeit clean on a box score, was nothing besides a near disaster for the Cubs. Except for the fact that Cleveland hitters were so unprepared for the large amount of sliders they got, that no one put a solid swing on the ball. Foolish baseball, a baseball youtuber, did an incredible breakdown of this inning alongside Mariano Rivera's 2001 game 7 disaster.

  13. One of the greatest games I’ve ever seen, & I didn’t even have a dog in the fight. Must’ve been murder for each fanbase.

  14. This game was pure entertainment for us fans with no horses in the race, must’ve been pure torture for the two fan bases.

  15. One more time. Please cover the 1999 champions league final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich . United were down 1-0 in the 89th minute and came back and won 2-1.

  16. As a Tribe fan this hurts to watch but it also reminds me of the great few weeks that postseason was. Cubs deserved it more but I would love a championship.

  17. I am not even a baseball fan, but I love the way you cover these big moments in sports in your videos, so I had to watch this.

  18. Most amazing game I've ever seen and probably ever will. I'm from the UK so watched this in the early hours of the morning and don't think I fell asleep until 6am as my head was still buzzing from the 5:10am finish. Then I got up for a 9am lecture but it was so worth it.

  19. Now it’s looking like Astros and Nats are going to give us a boring fly out sweep of a WS that no one will watch 😊

  20. I know it's not a very popular or famous moment, but the 2011 League Cup final between Arsenal and Birmingham City FC has a lot behind it that could be unpacked..

  21. I feel so bad for rajai davis. He was soooooo close to being a Cleland legend. And now nobody will remember him in ten years

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