The hardware chronicles, 2016 continued . . .

Uncontroversial NL MVP Bryant . . .

Uncontroversial NL MVP Bryant . . .

Concerning the rest of Hardware Week, a few sobering observations:

* Kris Bryant, the National League’s MVP, was a no-questions-asked solid pick. And yes, it’s rare that a guy follows a Rookie of the Year campaign with an MVP and a World Series ring. Maybe the least controversial award pick this year was Bryant. But if they’d given the award to one player across the board, Bryant would probably have finished second to Trout. And there’s no shame in that.

The Indians, the little team that almost did

Kluber (left), Francona, and the Indians proved the little team that could have but . . .Somewhere in the middle of the party enveloping Wrigleyville, which isn’t likely to re-open until spring training, at minimum, the heart of every Cub fan knows without having to say it. They ended baseball’s longest championship drought the hard way.

And they ought to congratulate the Cleveland Indians for making the Cubs absolutely earn it, no matter what surrealities came into play in Game Seven or, frankly, in the entire World Series. Rarely has any team robbed of so much taken a World Series to the absolute final out with so little left to expend from their bold selves as the Indians took.

The Cubs. World champions. Signed, Epstein’s mother.

The party's on . . .

The party’s on . . .

Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.

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.

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.

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:

Bloody hell, for the Jays, not the Indians

Ten stitches in time couldn't save one, never mind nine innings for Bauer . . .

Ten stitches in time couldn’t save one, never mind nine innings for Bauer . . .

They must have been afraid Trevor Bauer was going to throw a blood ball Monday night. I bet it would have had one helluva break thrown up to the plate. Either that or the Blue Jays feared the Indians—drawing first blood on a first-inning RBI double—really were out for blood.

Bauer’s ten-stitched pinkie bled from the now-infamous injury he incurred while working on one of the flying drones that are among his off-field hobbies. His blood is liable to become baseball’s most famous since that which seeped through Curt Schilling’s ankle-sheath stitches during the 2004 Red Sox’s surreal plunge back to the Promised Land.