This writer will attempt the best he can to disguise his bias. But suffice it to say that by the time his 92-year-old grandfather was born, the Cubs were already well into their Series drought. Damn you all, goat, black cat, Durham’s error and Bartman.
Anyway, here’s a conveniently segmented guide to the whole affair.
Things that hadn’t come along the last time each team won:
Cubs: World Wars, African-Americans in the major leagues, Prohibition, television, four states, the death of Leo Tolstoy and, seriously, sliced bread.
Indians: The Korean War, Playboy, school integration, satellites and fruit yogurt. Israel was founded just after the start of that regular season.
Terms you’ll hear a lot:
Tribe: Nickname for the Indians.
The shift: Infielders moving from their normal positions to compensate for a batter’s tendencies.
Joe Buck: Oft-maligned play-by-play commentator who may talk too much during the games.
Brought to you by...: Damn it.
Who to watch:
Cubs: Javy Baez, the current most exciting player in the playoffs, and Kris Bryant, likely NL MVP.
Indians: Corey Kluber, the Indians’ ace starting pitcher, who may go old-school and start three games in this series if necessary (that doesn’t happen much anymore), and Andrew Miller, a lockdown relief pitcher who may make games very boring if you like hitting.
Cubs: Joe Maddon, fun-loving, bespectacled genius tactician whose motto for the team is “Try not to suck.”
Indians: Terry Francona, two-time World Series winner beloved by his players and known affectionately as Tito.
Cubs: Kyle Schwarber, a Babe Ruth–ian character who slugged his way into the hearts of Cubs fans as a rookie last season, then tore his ACL and LCL just six months ago. He’d been completely written off for this season, but he’ll make a miraculous return tonight.
Indians: These guys went from third-place also-ran last season to a team that’s lost only one game so far in these playoffs.
Cubs: Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder, John Cusack, Hillary Clinton, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Indians: LeBron, Drew Carey, Tom Hanks, Kid Cudi.
Movies about these teams:
Cubs: Rookie of the Year.
Indians: Major League I and II.
Why you should root for them:
Cubs: If you can’t muster sympathy for a team and fans who’ve suffered this much heartbreak, take solace in the fact that you’ll never have to hear about it again after this year.
Indians: Ugh, Cubs fans.
Why you should root against them:
Cubs: The avalanche of breathless essays and cheesy narratives that will follow their victory.
Indians: Who cares about the Cleveland Indians?