The Cubs couldn’t help themselves – but then they did

Sloppy, stupid, bumbling and bedraggled, last night was as Chicago Cubs as Chicago Cubs gets. It was a parade of near-ineptitude, dragged out by the elements and a sheer ignorance of the elemental. It was dumb and silly and spiteful of all its best intentions.

Except for the ending.

In between brief moments of thoughtless and rote productivity, the players stumbled under the weight of a century’s worth of Ponzi-schemed expectations. Infielders were contestants in a squid-juggling contest, hitters swung like diapered whiffle-ballers, and pitchers—even those gifted their powers on the wings of griffins sent from the pinnacle of Mt. Olympus—came apart like dandelions in a windstorm. Charmed from the start of the season, now they were losers all over again.

Until they weren’t.

Even the manager, hailed as some sort of madcap Copernican conjurer of heat and light, was a dolt. Removing his best pitcher, suddenly grooving, with two outs, a solitary runner at first base and a four-run lead. Deploying an over-leveraged starter as a reliever and expecting a full-blown case of the yips to recede on the grandest stage. Leaning on a flamethrower with so little gas left that the poor sap trusted a series of soggy sliders over the planet’s fastest-ever fastball. Rarely has such a lauded Leader of Baseball Men made so many bald-faced gaffes during his club’s moments of truth.

But then he was a genius.

The Cubs won the World Series—wow, listen to that—as only they could: ugly, off-balance and smacking face-first into glass while pushing on the pull door. They were—are—an excellent team that, given enough opportunities, overcame their basest instincts when they needed to. They weren’t perfect. They were human.

And isn’t that just perfect?

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