Anthony Rizzo caught the ball for the final out and Wrigley Field erupted.
“I’m sleeping with this thing tonight,” the Chicago Cubs first baseman told the pulsating crowd moments later, kissing the prized souvenir. “Are you kidding me? We’re going to the World Series.”
Next up, Game 1 in Cleveland.
With fans chanting, singing and waving those Ws, shaking the century-old ballpark and jamming the streets of Wrigleyville, the Cubs celebrated a moment many of their faithful wondered whether they would ever see.
Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton Kershaw, Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs took their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night to win the NL Championship Series in six games.
“Listen to them. Outside before the game was crazy. Inside the game was crazy,” Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said.
“These guys have done nothing but support us from Day One. It’s been unbelievable to be here and be part of this. Words can’t really describe where I’m at right now,” he said.
Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, those “Lovable Losers” now have a chance to win it all.
Trying to win their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon’s team opens the World Series against Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The Indians haven’t won it all since 1948 – Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.
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