On Saturday October 22, 2016, Aroldis Chapman threw a 106 MPH fastball forcing Yasiel Puig to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and suddenly the curse of the Billy Goat was over. The Chicago Cubs won their first pennant since 1945. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, you knew this was a special moment. During the post game show, 2009 World Series champion Alex Rodriguez said that for the first time in a long time baseball owns the fall. With a World Series coming that promises to break one team’s generations worth of misery, now it is time for baseball to reclaim it’s throne as America’s Pastime. The NFL can wait.
Why Everyone Stopped Watching
During the early 2000s, baseball took a huge blow. When the steroid scandal hit, many were turned off the sport. Despite witnessing 50 home runs fly out of the park every year, the fact that these players did not have integrity forced fans to turn their attention elsewhere. During this time the world we in live continued to evolve into a microwave society. The Internet was faster, phones were getting smarter, but baseball and its season stayed the same. “This season is way too long, I’d go with a 154 game schedule,” says Phil Duncan, a member of Flock MLB, a group on Facebook for baseball fans.
While the popularity of baseball has been decreasing for years, there has been a recent drop in NFL ratings. The NFL has been America’s most popular sport for over a decade, however the league has also been under a lot of heat lately. Many players are getting fined for extended touchdown celebrations, wearing custom cleats or even eye black. The nickname has been changed to the No Fun League. Twitter user Ellis Geggs says, “The reasons, it seems, are a combination of too many games and poor product. Also the election may be diverting some eyes.”
So why turn to baseball now? Two reasons: the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. The Indians have not won the World Series since 1948. Their last appearance was 1997. That series went to a decisive Game 7, a game where the trophy was on its way to the Indians clubhouse in the bottom of the 9th inning but then closer Jose Mesa blew the save and the Indians ultimately would lose the World Series. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 and have not been since 1945.
One team was destined to be there, while the other surprised everyone. The Cubs won 103 games this season and were the favorites throughout the season to win it all. The curse was the only reason anyone would not pick this team. The injury bug throughout the season on the other hand bit the Indians, yet they continued to win. Winning and ending curses seems to be in the air for the city of Cleveland. Having not won a championship since 1963, the prodigal son, LeBron James led the Cavaliers to their first ever NBA Title, ending the city’s drought. So while the NFL continues to be petty and mix up their priorities, the MLB’s Fall Classic promises an exciting finish!