Last week, when Willson Contreras bounced Sergio Romo’s hanging slider up the middle, past the diving reach of Giants second baseman Joe Panik and neatly into center field, and Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist streaked around third, pumping their fists and racing home, it almost felt like Marty McFly had finally parked The DeLorean.
In the same month that Nike’s ‘Back to the Future’ sneakers were auctioned for charity, the Cubs had taken another step towards their final destiny, pulling off the largest ninth-inning comeback in postseason history. Chicago scored four runs to erase a 5-2 deficit in Game 4 of the NLDS, sending the insufferable Giants home without a title in an even year for the first time since 2008.
It was the opposite of what typically happens to the Cubs in the postseason. There was no booted double play ball, no grounder right through the legs, no interference of any kind–by fan or divine being.
This time, the Cubs the ones staging an epic comeback, circling around the bases while the opposing team’s bullpen implodes. They were the ones lifting clutch home runs over the left field wall, and refusing to go home without a knock-down, drag-out, MMA-style fight.
It happened again on Thursday night in Los Angeles, where the Cubs won their second straight backs-to-the-wall game, doing so in convincing fashion, the way championship teams in all sports do.
They scored 18 runs in two road wins over the plucky yet talented Dodgers, violently swinging the pendulum of this series back in their favor and bringing them within a win at Wrigley of the World Series.
Now, even the most pessimistic of Cubs fans has to come to terms with this newfound truth.
It’s Gonna Happen.
And it might just happen this year.
It’s almost fitting that this Cubs run is taking place now–in October of this election year, which many believe has been the most terrifying presidential campaign season of our lifetimes.
That the lovable losers are winning now–during this turbulent period in human history, when economies are failing, social structures are being threatened and scientists have declared a new geological epoch for the Earth, is pretty remarkable.
The Cubs, of all teams, have become a symbol of hope in this cold, terrifying world.
Then again, what could be more apocalyptic than the Cubs winning the World Series? The Mayans predicted that the world would end in 2012, but maybe they miscalculated how long it would take Kris Bryant’s dad to meet his mom.
Maybe they thought the Red Sox would be a little bit quicker to stupidly get rid of Theo Epstein.
Yes, the Cubs still have a chance to give this all away like they did in 1984 or 2003. They still might fold under the white-hot pressure they’ll face at Wrigley Field, where understandably emotionally unstable fans will lose their minds after the first thing that doesn’t go right.
They might also just get beat. They are going up against Clayton Kershaw in Game 6, and a plucky, talented Dodgers team that can play with absolutely no pressure in Game 7.
But whatever happens this weekend, it won’t change the feeling at this moment in time—when a presidential candidate threatens to leave the nation “in suspense” as to whether or not he’ll accept the results of the election should he lose, and when many Americans are seeing news headlines they couldn’t fathom twenty years ago.
If you’re starting to feel down about everything that’s going on in the world right now, just remember–the Chicago Cubs are a win away from the World Series.
Maybe there really is hope for us after all.