Tonight will officially be history in the making. For one team, it may be the end of a painstaking 68 year-championship drought, while it would mark the end of the longest championship drought in professional sports for the other. Yes, whether or not you’re a baseball fan, you’ll want to tune in for game seven of the World Series tonight. Though as a Pittsburgher, and Pirates fan, this presents an interesting condundrum.
First, the Chicago Cubs are division rivals and have made life miserable for the Pirates in recent years, but at the same time, how can a Pittsburgher even consider supporting a Cleveland team? It’s almost sacriligious. Now, it’s almost a win-win regardless. Seeing either city’s dreams for a title crushed in a heart-breaking game seven loss is enough to make any Pittsburgh sports fan smile, but we’ll dig a little deeper to find who truly is the lesser of two evils.
First, we’ll take a look at the Chicago Cubs, who last won the World Series in 1908. The Cubs should receive some sympathy points based solely on the fact that they’ve gone so long without a title. Anyone who supports the Pirates should feel the pain that Cubs’ fans have endured for over a century. I certainly can recognize the anguish as a 24-year-old Pittsburgher. I was born in 1992, which was the last winning season for the Buccos before enduring 20 consecutive losing seasons. That meant I spent the first 20 years of my life watching the Pirates lose, and lose badly. I think enduring that is what made the Pirates 2013 winning season and wild card triumph over the Cincinatti Reds so special, and I can only imagine how special a game seven win would be for the Cubbies and their city. I remember when the Pirates made the playoffs that year, and how the atmosphere in the city changed. People came together, and jolly rogers were everywhere. It was special, and that is something that would be amplified by the thousands in Chicago if the Cubs manage to win.
However, Chicago has had success from its other sports teams, including the Bulls, White Sox, Bears, and Blackhawks. Obviously, the Bulls and Michael Jordan dominated the NBA in the 1990s, while the Blackhawks are currently in the midst of making their own dynasty. Though the Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1986, the team has had success and made a Super Bowl in 2007. The White Sox have struggled in recent years, but even they won the World Series in 2005. Chicago’s overall success in sports makes me shy away from supporting their World Series quest.
Now, on the other hand, we have Cleveland, which has been the laughing stock of the sports world for as long as I can remember, or for my entire life. Obviously the Cavaliers broke through and brought Cleveland a title at the beginning of the year, but that’s really nothing compared to Chicago’s overall success. As a Pittsburgher, I only want to see the Browns lose year in and year out, so I harbor no real ill will toward the Indians, especially since the team is not even in the same league as the Pirates.
With that being said, Pittsburghers also value their own, and one of our own is sheperding the Indians. Manager Terry Francona is from New Brighton, so he has that hometown connection. I respect what Francona has done during his career, and how he ended the Boston Red Sox curse; however, I’m hoping he works his magic to keep Chicago’s championship drought alive.
As much as I don’t want to see Cleveland become the city of champions, I realize that after this title any hopes for more will end with the winless Browns. Watching that team for the next eight weeks will be punishment enough for the city. Besides, the Chicago Cubs’ championship drought is nearly synonymous with death and taxes.