The Chicago Cubs, who have endured 108 years without a championship, and the Cleveland Indians, who have waited a mere 68, are nothing if not patient.
So what’s one more day?
All those decades of disappointment and heartbreak will be washed away for one of these franchises on Wednesday night as the 112th World Series culminates in a Game 7. The Cubs ensured there would be a winner-take-all game by routing the Indians on Tuesday night, riding a grand slam and six R.B.I. by Addison Russell to a 9-3 victory.
The Cubs will send Kyle Hendricks to the mound as they try to become the first team to rally from a three-games-to-one deficit since Kansas City beat St. Louis in 1985, and the first to do so on the road since Pittsburgh won at Baltimore in 1979.
But they will have to beat the Indians’ ace, Corey Kluber, who has dominated them twice in this Series, allowing just one run in 12 innings while striking out 15.
The winner will relish what will surely be viewed as a transformative victory in either city. The loser will be left with another chapter of anguish — perhaps the cruelest one in a history of them.
“If you’re a fan of baseball, this is the best outcome you could possibly hope for in a World Series anyone’s been alive for,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “A couple of years ago it went Game 7, but the Indians not winning since ’48 and us not winning since 1908 — it’s going to be good. History’s going to be written tomorrow, one way or another, and we’ll be a part of it forever.”
History — or anything else — did not appear to weigh on the Cubs on Tuesday. They looked more relaxed than they had over the weekend at Wrigley Field, where they lost two of three despite holding the best home record in baseball this season.
Perhaps it was escaping the suffocating crowds, or perhaps it was because Manager Joe Maddon had allowed his players to stay at home on Monday to enjoy Halloween with their families before flying into Cleveland at night. About half the team boarded the plane in costume.