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article imageFive things we learned from the 112th World Series

By AFP     Nov 3, 2016 in Sports

Five Things We Learned From the 112th World Series, which ended with the Chicago Cubs beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings to win Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final four games to three:

1. Everybody matters.

The Chicago Cubs brought in Cuban ace closing relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman needing only four outs to win the title. But he surrendered a two-run homer and a run-scoring double and suddenly the Cubs' lead was gone.

The eventual final pitchers were Carl Edwards, who got two outs in the 10th for Chicago, and Mike Montgomery, who got the save by inducing a ground out from Michael Martinez to end the game. Together they had a combined two career saves. But they did the job when called upon under the greatest pressure.

"I loved all that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I felt good."

2. The stars come out for baseball.

Cheering on the Chicago Cubs were actors Bill Murray and John Cusack, and rocker Eddie Vedder.

Cleveland's top attention-getting fan was Charlie Sheen, the actor who played an Indians pitcher in the movie "Major League," known as "Wild Thing" for being unable to control his high-speed pitches.

Murray gave a stranger wearing a Cubs jersey a free ticket for game six and she sat with him. That's cool. Just ask the thousands standing outside the stadium for game seven watching on a big screen and wishing they were inside.

3. Cubs fans are a hearty group.

Thousands of them were in the stands in Cleveland for the seventh game. Most had bought resale tickets in hopes of seeing their team win it all.

Chicago fans celebrate the Chicago Cubs 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland in 10th ...
Chicago fans celebrate the Chicago Cubs 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland in 10th inning in game seven of the 2016 World Series on November 3, 2016
Tasos Katopodis, AFP

Chants of "Let's Go Cubs" came before the pre-game playing of the US national anthem and well after the last player was done celebrating on the pitcher's mound. Fans lingered until heavy rains and security guards forced them into the night.

Such exuberance can be expected since Chicago's last title came in 1908.

But the locals weren't thrilled as they pondered another near miss and a title drought since 1948 that is now baseball's longest. The Indians became the first team since 1985 to squander a 3-1 Series lead and come away empty-handed.

4. Youth trumps experience?

The Cubs had six starters under age 25 in game two, a World Series record. Not since 1970 had there even been five in the same game.

Addison Russell, 22, hit a grand slam in game six. He's the youngest to do that since a 21-year-old Mickey Mantle knocked one out for the New York Yankees in the 1953 World Series.

Kris Bryant, 24, had 20 hits in this year's playoff run, the most by any Cub in any playoff run.

Kyle Schwarber, 23, recovered from a knee injury to play in the World Series.

Aroldis Chapman of the Chicago Cubs (R) forces out Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians at firs...
Aroldis Chapman of the Chicago Cubs (R) forces out Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians at first base to end the seventh inning
Ezra Shaw, Getty/AFP

Willson Contreras, 24, Javier Baez, 23, and Jorge Soler, 24, played key roles at pivotal moments.

"Moving forward, as they've gained this experience from this season and the World Series experience, they are going to keep getting better," Maddon said. "They're scratching the surface of how good they can be."

Francona will be changing his post-game eating, sleeping and television watching habits.

Francona woke up on the morning of game seven with a TV remote control poking into his ribs and peanut butter on his glasses.

"It's not easy being manager," Francona said. "My bedroom looked like a national disaster last night. I'm going to have to change a few habits when we're done here."

Francona awoke from a nightmare that his ribs were being broken to find "the TV remote was stuck in my rib cage. Evidently I had slept on it for a couple of hours."

But he hadn't dozed while just watching TV. He had a snack too.

"I go straight home and I hit the bed and everything is laid out next to me. And I fell asleep at some point while eating. I was dipping pretzels into the jar of peanut butter. I had peanut butter on my glasses."

So what put him to sleep? News coverage of the US presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

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