Congratulations, Cubs fans!
Truly, you deserved it, and your guys gave those of us without a rooting interest a heck of a show en route to winning the World Series early Thursday morning.
So what if your team now is like the Red Sox – just another high-payroll, big-market, Theo Epstein-run powerhouse whose cute-and-cuddly image is kaput? It was worth it.
Having now waited a respectful couple of days, though, allow me to suggest something that might cause some of you to politely disagree:
As historic, unlikely, wildly entertaining, championship-round comebacks from 3-1 deficits involving Cleveland teams go, the Cubs’ victory over the Indians was not even the best of 2016.
The vote here still goes to the Cavaliers’ NBA Finals defeat of the Warriors back in June.
Both series were great fun, and defining moments for the sports vying to be No. 2 on Americans’ favorites list during what has been a tough year for No. 1.
The Cubs’ Game 7 victory averaged about 40 million viewers, the most for a baseball game in 25 years. The Cavs’ Game 7 victory on June 19 averaged about 31 million, the most for a basketball game in 18 years.
But when it comes to degree of difficulty, the Cavaliers have the clear edge.
The Cubs were the best team in baseball all season, with 103 regular-season victories, and were favored entering the World Series.
True, they had to win two of three on the road to make it back from 3-1 down, just like the Cavaliers, but the home-field advantage in baseball is not remotely as important as it is in basketball.
LeBron James and friends had to win twice in Oakland, against the best regular-season team not only of 2015-16, but of all time in the 73-win Warriors.
The suspension of Golden State’s Draymond Green gave the Cavaliers a huge boost in winning Game 5. But their 93-89 victory – after trailing by seven at halftime – in Game 7 was pure merit, and featured 20 lead changes and 11 ties.
Plus, the Cubs were the sixth team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven World Series. The Cavaliers were the first to do so in the NBA Finals.
Baseball’s Game 7 had some undeniably memorable moments, but will history remember Ben Zobrist’s 10th-inning double as vividly as James’ block of Andre Iguodala?
Again, none of this is to disparage the Cubbies’ big night, or the historical significance of a team winning it all for the first time since the Theodore Roosevelt Administration.
The Cubs’ drought already was 62 years old when the Cavaliers debuted in 1970. (Although when it comes to city curses, Chicago had enjoyed plenty of sports championships since 1970, Cleveland not one.)
I am posing a can’t-go wrong debate here pitting pizza against ice cream, just to give y’all something extra to read on a pre-election Friday.
So: all good. Enjoy the parade, and hope your heroes keep their shirts on and avoid saying naughty words into microphones, unlike the Cavaliers.
But once the euphoria and sleep-deprivation of the other night wear off and we look back at the best sports events of 2016 come late December, the vote here is clear: Cavs over Cubs.