To Game Seven, via the ICU

Chapman in the eighth . . .

Chapman in the eighth . . .

Forget about making things a little more exciting even when they leave themselves room enough to make things simple. These Cubs are just hell bent on keeping Cub Country not on edge, but within easy reach of the intensive care unit.

These Indians seem hell bent likewise regarding the Indian Isles, who must have thought—after the Cubs forced a seventh World Series game—that simplicity is simply not an option anymore.

Francona’s been there, Maddon would like to do that

Francona (left) has broken one franchise curse and strikes to break another; Maddon would settle for breaking one right now.

Francona (left) has broken one franchise curse and strikes to break another; Maddon would settle for breaking one right now.

Terry Francona has been here and done that. If there’s anyone in baseball who knows what it’s like to steer a team heretofore in the wilderness and under heavy curses, actual or alleged, it’s Francona.

A man who shepherded the once-snake bitten Red Sox to shove back with everything they had, only beginning when Dave Roberts stole second on Mariano Rivera with the Sox three outs from an elimination sweep, isn’t exactly going to let a Cub uprising in Game Five of this World Series bite him that hard.

Chapman, Cubs answer the “big ask”

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Something unexpected happened in Wrigley Field Sunday night. The Cubs—the real Cubs, the ones you watched or heard about all regular season long, the ones you remember from their pre-World Series postseason rounds—came to the ballpark.

They left their impressions of Cub calamities past somewhere. Who knows where? Who cares? The hosts who let the Indians make off with the valuables and leave them tied up in the closet didn’t wait for the cops.

For these Indians, the Cubs are hosts too gracious

IT'S NOT LIKE HE DIDN'T TRY TO WARN YOU---Kipnis (right, with Crisp) said he wanted to bust every heart in Chicago, and his three-run homer in Game Four went a long way to proving it Saturday night . . .

IT’S NOT LIKE HE DIDN’T TRY TO WARN YOU—Kipnis (right, with Crisp) said he wanted to bust every heart in Chicago, and his three-run homer in Game Four went a long way to proving it Saturday night . . .

Apparently, nobody showed the Cubs Jason Kipnis’s Game Three postgame remarks. Just as apparent in Game Four, it almost wouldn’t have mattered if someone had.

The Indians spent the fourth game of this World Series earning the respect they think, not unreasonably, they’ve been denied. A 7-2 win which felt like they were never behind despite an embryonic 1-0 Cub lead does that for you.

Tight Indians win, big Indians mouth

Kipnis may yet learn how nice it isn't to insult another team with a long-suffering fan base . . .

Kipnis may yet learn how nice it isn’t to insult another team with a long-suffering fan base . . .

Jason Kipnis, the Indians’ two-time All-Star second baseman, grew up in a Chicago suburb with dreams of playing the World Series in Wrigley Field. Dreams shared by a few million Cub fans who couldn’t wait to get the party started when the World Series finally came to Wrigley Field after lo these many decades.

And after his Indians managed to squeeze their way to a 1-0 Game Three win in the Confines, Kipnis took into consideration the broken hearts in the ballpark, in front of the television sets, next to the radios, wherever Cub Country congregated, and had words for those hearts.

The Cubs, the Indians, and their worst. trades. ever.

Rocky Colavito Lou Brock Colavito for Kuenn. Brock for Broglio. Decades to recover. Of all the actual or alleged curses inflicted upon the Indians and the Cubs, maybe none of them impacted each franchise the way those two deals did.

One involved a slugging, run-productive outfielder who seemed Hall of Fame bound until injuries finally took their toll. The other became a Hall of Fame outfielder whose particular stock in trade was leading off magnificently, with a little power and a lot of contact ability, then turning games into track meets and crime scenes with his stolen base virtuosity.

Here, the stories behind each staggering deal.

Enter the Schwarbinator

The Schwarbinator drills the second of his two Game Two RBI singles in the fifth, this one off Indians reliever Bryan Shaw.

The Schwarbinator drills the second of his two Game Two RBI singles in the fifth, this one off Indians reliever Bryan Shaw.

This is what we knew about Kyle Schwarber before this World Series: He made a splash—no, a tidal wave—in last year’s postseason. Including his parking of a meatball from St. Louis’s Kevin Siegrist atop the Wrigley Field scoreboard in the seventh inning of the division series clincher.

Will the team with the best ex-Red Sox win the Series?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team's ex-Red Sox?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team’s ex-Red Sox?

That was then: The team with the most ex-Cubs lost. This could be now: The team with the best ex-Red Sox wins.

The Cubs’ ex-Red Sox: Theo Epstein (president of baseball operations), Jon Lester (the Cubs’ World Series Game One starting pitcher), and John Lackey. The Indians’ ex-Red Sox: Terry Francona (manager), Mike Napoli (first baseman/designated hitter), and Andrew Miller (extraterrestrial relief pitcher).

Factors to consider:

How the world turned since their last Series triumphs

In 1954, Edward R. Murrow forced a fabled television showdown with Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy on Murrow’s groundbreaking news program, See It Now. The two men had more in common than just their middle initial. They were both born the same year in which the Cubs last won the World Series—Murrow in Guilford County, North Carolina; McCarthy in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

And, no, their coincidental same year birth has nothing to do with the Cubs winning their last World Series championship to date, pending the outcome of the proceedings due to begin Tuesday night. Your chronicler was born four years to the day after See It Now‘s 1951 premiere, and even they won’t hold it against him.

A Cub pennant, and a Code Blue World Series

Rizzo raising arms with the pennant-winning double play ball snapped in his mitt: "I'm sleeping with this thing tonight. Are you kidding me?"

Rizzo raising arms with the pennant-winning double play ball snapped in his mitt: “I’m sleeping with this thing tonight. Are you kidding me?”

Apparently, God has a sense of humour, after all. Fathers have been known to use wit to discipline their children, you know. And the Father of fathers sure picked a beauty to teach us a lesson after His foolish American children picked Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton for the White House.

The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since just after World War II. To play the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won the World Series since just before the Berlin Airlift.