Coppola: Game 7 Of The World Series Proves There Are No Goats In Chicago Only Heroes

What an amazing World Series! The Cubs and the Indians came into this World Series with a combined championship drought of 176 years. It was the theme throughout this 2016 series. When the Indians went up 3-1 in games, most of us thought it was over for the Cubs. After dominating all of baseball this year, they again would suffer another monumental defeat?

But hold on there all you goat herders. Dexter (I’m hitting .160) Fowler, after hitting the first ever lead off home run, in a game seven off of a Corey Kluber fourth pitch, just said: “I think I’ll have some goat stew for dinner tonight.”

Then Kyle Hendricks went to work on the Tribe, with a steady mix of sharp late biting cutters, tight sinkers and changeups that had good fade and drop.The Indian’s defense has been at best shaky for this series and it raised it’s ugly head again. Rajai Davis mistimed a catch, allowing Kris Bryant to tag and beat his throw to home that gave the Cubs a lead again.

Then Davis got a bad first step to a ball he should have caught that went for a run scoring double to the next batter Willson Contreras. In the meantime, Hendricks started mowing the Indian hitters down. His command on all of his pitches was outstanding. Former Cy Young winner, Kluber, showed why Bob Gibson is in the Hall of fame. It is so hard to be sharp trying to start three times in nine days.

As the Cubs slowly added one run after another off of Kluber and then Andrew Miller on sharp crisp hits, I could hear the fat lady beginning to sing I am puzzled as to why, Joe ‘Mad Man” Maddon had to remove Hendricks after only 63 pitches. Then taking a chance with Jon Lester, with a runner on first. He couldn’t field an inning ending dribbler, making David Ross field it then throwing a dirt ball off of Ross’s head, giving the Indians two more runs.

Maddon, the Renaissance Man could get burned at the stake. But no, he gets bailed out for now in the next inning by 39- year old David Ross who homers to center putting the lead at three. Lester ended up doing a good job in relief once he was starting an inning where he is more comfortable, getting six outs, four on strikeouts.

Outstanding. And then we get Aroldis Chapman to try for a four- out save and a place in history. But not this night. As long as he throws 100 mph straight balls, he can be hit. And man was he hit. How about a laser home run by Rajai Davis right into the FOX camera lens to tie it up in the bottom of the eighth? Who will Maddon bring in next? Joe Maddon?

Letting Chapman pitch the ninth was a risk because he had nothing. Here is where Maddon may of blown it. Using him with a big lead Chapman was gassed. Maddon just doesn’t like his bullpen and taxed the few he trusted.

But hey, I forgot to mention Terry Francona. Why did he stay with Bryan Shaw so long in the top of the tenth? Looks like one guy over managed and the other one under managed.

Carl Edwards, Jr, the 25-year old gets the first two outs in the bottom of the tenth, before he lets in a run, leaving the tying run on second base and gives way to Lefty Mike Montgomery He faces 34 -year old Michael Martinez. Who is this guy? He grounds out to Kris Bryant at third on the second pitch he sees. How about taking a few pitches son? And it is done. I am not surprised that it was Ben Zobrist who got the winning hit for the Cubs. He was a thorn in the Tribes side the entire series. He is my MVP.

Rain delay, extra innings. Holy smokes what a great game for all the marbles!

On a night, where Kluber and Andrew Miller couldn’t be the dominating pitchers they were this post season. On a night, when Chapman blew a three- run lead in the eighth inning, a series dominated mostly by great pitching, was decided by clutch hitting.

We saw a classic Game 7 and an even more classic series. From spring training to the long grueling regular season, we got to see it come down to just a few games, to decide who is the new Champion.

We saw all the trades, free agent acquisitions and moves by managers We heard all the analytical geniuses who think they steer the ship.They can talk about all those spins, velocities, exit speeds, trajectories, WHIPs, DIPs, SKIPs and FLIPs. all they want. It all comes down to the players. They are the ones we go to see.

It’s the anticipation and drama of the unexpected. That’s what has us on the edge of our seats. The amazing skills of these athletes, that give us thrills and chills during every game. That is what makes it a great game.

Kluber dominating in game one and game four. Jake Arrieta in Games 2 and 6. That 1-0 Game 3 at Wrigley, was as good as it gets. Aroldis Chapman’s super eight- out save in Game 5 was huge. Watching all these very young players look like seasoned veterans is crazy. The Cubs stars Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Solar are all 22 to 24 years old!

Kyle Hendricks is only 26. Can you say Dynasty for the next six years? With the exception of 38- year old John Lackey, their rotation is in their prime years.

The new champs, have the ability to dominate for the next few years. They needed a monster team to bring this ridiculous curse to an end. And now they are the new Monsters of the Midway.

Congratulations Chicago Cubs.

About the coverage by FOX Sports, I think they need about ten more analysts. I mean could they take a breath and let us try to figure things out a little for ourselves? Kudos though for the unbelievable camera shots they gave us.

I know Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose have a lot of baseball knowledge but it was creeping me out to look at them doing the pre and post game shows on FOX. There are so many others they could’ve hired as talent for that show like former players that are not an embarrassment to baseball.

Some thoughts:

  1. First World Series where no starter went more than six innings
  2. Interesting to think that the Yankees had both Miller and Aroldis Chapman for most of the year.
  3. Is Maddon a genius or a high stakes roller? Is over managing the next big craze?
  4. 104 days till pitchers and catchers.
  5. Congratulations to Brooklyn’s Billy Blitzer. Whose 33 years of service makes him the Cubs’ longest-tenured scout, as he gets his ring!

Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.

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