By Carter Gibson Hunt: Sports Editor
If you have any interest in watching this year’s World Series you have probably heard something about the Chicago Cub’s championship drought. As fans of America’s pastime unite to watch the nation’s longest suffering franchise compete for its first World Series victory in over a century they are presented with a dilemma, one that comes in the shape of the Cleveland Indians.
The Windy City may lay claim to the Chicago Cubs and the team’s infamous history but Cleveland and its Indians are still by many measures just as destitute when it comes to success. Forget about the 2016 NBA title for a minute, those rings do not belong to the city of Cleveland, they belong to LeBron James.
Outside of that title, Cleveland has not had a sports title in 52 years. Chicago has been oversold as the story of this year’s title race, the Indians are the real Cinderella. Cleveland has the sixth lowest payroll in the majors, Chicago has the sixth highest. Not a single player for the Indian’s started in the All-Star game, the Cubs started four. Cleveland has not won a World Series since 1948, the second longest streak in baseball. The point is fans need to be careful with who they are rooting for.
One way or another a streak of impressive magnitude is going to be broken in the upcoming week, but fans are losing sight of the terrible tragedy of what has happened: both of these teams deserve a better way to end the streak than against each other.
Take the Boston Red Sox for example. When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 breaking the curse of the Bambino (go watch “The Sandlot” if you don’t know what the curse of the Bambino is right now; class can wait this is important) they did it defeating the New York Yankees in the American League Championship and the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series perhaps the two most successful teams in the history of baseball.
To end a streak the proper way, a team should get to face the status quo in order to break it. Cleveland should have the opportunity to end its streak against a true blue chip franchise, like the San Francisco Giants. The same goes for Chicago. Chicago should get to play a team like Boston or the Yankees or even Kansas City who has dominated the MLB in recent years.
This is not just a pain for these two teams, it is a pain for all fans of the sport. Fans deserve a clearer picture of who to root for, they shouldn’t have to choose which Cinderella story to support, they should get to choose from two opposing forces, instead it’s like they have to watch Rocky fight Rudy. Chaos will ensue.
What is the solution? The Cleveland Indians need to win the World Series this year. Honestly it is not a matter of should it is a matter of necessity. 2016 can just be the year Cleveland sports came back to life, the Cubs can have their own party some other year. If the Indians beat the Cubs the world of sports will have something worth celebrating, if the Cubs win it will be a simple matter of the favorite doing exactly what it is supposed to do.
If you are a full on fan of the Cubs, by all means, root on your team. But if you are not actually a fan, if you have just found yourself cheering on the side of seeing a streak of history being broken, then this argument is directed at you. Do not be fooled or overcome by selfishness and shortsightedness of “wanting to see history.” You will have ample opportunity to see history throughout the rest of your life, don’t force something that was not meant to be.
Chicago is too good for its own sake. People may remember the ‘27 Yankees as great but if they were around today nobody would root for them. The same goes for this year’s Cubs. Chicago fans deserve a magical season and there is nothing magical about winning with perhaps the best roster ever put together. The Cubs general manager Theo Epstein will always and forever be remembered for breaking the Red Sox’s streak, if he did it in Chicago too it would always follow as a footer to his first showing of greatness, Chicago deserves better.
If the Cubs win the title this year it won’t even the year’s most remembered moment. The list will go something like this: Cleveland ended its city wide championship drought, Donald Trump ran for President, the first woman ever was elected President, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got a divorce and finally Chicago won its first world series title in 108 years.
So as you sit down to watch this season’s Fall Classic you will undoubtedly feel a strong pull to root for the Cubs but do yourself and everyone around you a favor: don’t.