The Win That Shook The Baseball World

By Cheval John

Just for today, I am taking a break from the National Non-fiction Writing Challenge month because I am in a different world right now.

The reason being is because the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night in a crazy Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, Ohio.

Many might not know that I am a lifelong Cubs fan and I have never been to the city of Chicago.

I was close to visiting the Windy City earlier this year, but thing just fell through.

Now you might wondering how a person from St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands who have never been to Chicago, be a life-long Cubs fan?

I will explain.

Though St. Croix does not have a professional sports team like cities here in the states, growing up we had sports teams to choose from.

What I mean is that on our cable television channels, we had Turner Broadcasting Station, which was the home of the Atlanta Braves, a station which broadcast the New York Mets and of course, WGN TV-Chicago which broadcast the Cubs and at times, the White Sox and the Bulls.

For some reason, I choose to follow the Cubs because watching the baseball home matchups at Wrigley Field felt like I were in a backyard neighborhood where people gathered to hang out with friends.

And seeing some of the great baseball players like Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, Andre Dawson, etc. putting in their best effort to win a matchup for the Chicago Cubs nation.

And of course, the late great Haray Caray, who brought excitement to the baseball game with his calls of “It Could Be, It Is” on homerun calls and “Cubs Win, Cubs Win” after they defeated an opponent in the matchup.

To add, the famous “Seventh Inning Stretch” which Caray led the fans and viewers to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”

I grew accustomed to the Cubs losing because it was as if you expected something wrong was going to happen and they all of a sudden break your heart.

But no matter what, I stayed loyal to the Cubs despite the long suffering while watching other teams compete for the chance to win the World Series.

When I moved to Texas 17 years ago and seen the evolution of a great city like Houston, I stayed loyal to the Cubs because that was the right thing to do.

I honestly was wondering what would it be like when the Chicago Cubs would finally win the ultimate prize in baseball since 1908.

It seemed like everyone of us would have seen the Cubs win back in 2003 when they where 6 outs away from advancing to the World Series and finally seen them win the championship.

However, the Cubs collapsed and lost to the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship where many fans like myself blamed Steve Bartman for the loss.

I want to tell Mr. Bartman that I am sorry for blaming him for the Cubs loss in 2003 and that he is a true Cubs fan despite the vitriol that he had to deal with for a long time.

Seeing the Boston Red Sox breaking their own curse by winning the World Series in 2004 and then the White Sox winning in 2005 against the Houston Astros give us hope that we can break the drought of achieving the ultimate prize.

When the Tribune Company sold the team to the Ricketts in 2009, you had a sense that a championship was around the corner.

Then the hiring of Theo Epstein, the architect of the Red Sox team who won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, and Joe Maddon, who took a losing Tampa Rays team and made them contenders for World Series championships, solidified that a winning culture was about to be established.

Slowly, but surely, the Cubs made it back to the post-season in 2015 and made some strides including defeating the Pittsburg Pirates in the Wild Card matchup and beating the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the NLCS, where they fell short to the eventual WS running up, Mets.

This year, they were the favorites and won 103 matchups and the central division title.

The pressure was on for the Cubs to make history and break a 108 year drought as they had to go through a San Francisco Giant team, who won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

When the Cubs, who had a 2-1 lead in the National League Division Series (NLDS), were trailing the Giants 5-2 leading up to the ninth inning in Game 4, I honestly thought that they were going to lose and then were probably collapse again.

But when Anthony Rizzo started the inning with a single, hope started to replace doubt.

Then they continued to put runners on base and optimism of a comeback against the Giants was a strong possibility.

All of a sudden, they scored 4 runs and defeated the Giants 6-5 to win the NLDS and break their chance of winning the title this year.

You knew that it was not going to be easy to beat the Dodgers because they had that fighting spirit due to the leadership of Dave Roberts, who was part of the 2004 Red Sox team.

However, they made it through and made it back to the World Series for the first time since 1945 to face the Indians.

It was awesome to see the Cubs in the World Series and break that so-called “Billy Goat” curse.

Though it was cool to see them in the ultimate championship series, I wanted them to win it all.

The Indians were looking to win their first World Series themselves since 1948 and it was an epic matchup.

I honestly felt it was our turn to win the championship because the city of Cleveland broke their 52 year championship drought due to the Cavaliers coming back from 3-1 to defeat the Golden State Warriors.

It seemed like the Indians had the Cubs number as they were leading 3-1.

But I had a strong intuition that if the Cubs won Game 5 at Wrigley Field, that they were going to win the championship.

Once the Cubs won Game 5, it was new life.

And the Cubs went on to tie the World Series at 3 matchups a piece, setting up the crazy Game 7 that probably made me age to 86.

When the Cubs had a 6-3 lead, it was like everything was falling into place for a win.

Then the Indians tied the matchup at 6 due to an RBI single and a two-run line drive home run by Rajai Davis and I was speechless and numb.

But for some reason, I was just more hopeful than ever and that 17-minute rain delay was very pivotal.

The Cubs scored two pivotal runs due to RBI hits by World Series MVP Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero for an 8-6 lead.

And with two outs and the Indians trailing 8-7, the batter hit a ground ball to where Kris Bryant got the baseball and threw it to Rizzo for the World Series Clinching out that sent the city of Chicago into a celebration frenzy.

At long last, we as Chicago Cubs fans don’t have to hear anymore about the last time they won a World Series again.

At the same time, we remember the long time fans, former Cubs baseball players who passed on without seeing their team capturing the World Series.

Now that this part of the story is complete, here are a few lessons that many of us business owners and professionals can learn from the 2016 Chicago Cubs team.

1. Ownership Have To Invest In Their Company

The Tribune Company, who in their brilliance made the Cubs a national team, did not fully invest the money into the iconic Wrigley Field. When Ricketts bought the team, he and his family fully invested in the team and made the organization a great place to work.

2. Find The Right People

Ricketts knew he had to bring in an executive who had fresh ideas to invigorate the Chicago Cubs organization and that is why Epstein was the perfect choice due to his previous track record of turning around the Red Sox. From there, Epstein hired Maddon as the manager and the rest is history.

3. Have A Winning Attitude

Epstein brought in the correct baseball players who had a strong winning attitude and providing them with the resources to compete against the best teams in Major League Baseball.

To conclude, a business must have leaders who care about the well-being of their business and the people who work for them.

If they don’t treat their employees correctly and allow their environment to be toxic, their business will end up failing overtime because their employees will not want to work for people who don’t give a flying leap.

When leadership actually cares about their employees, a winning attitude will occur and in the same manner, that company will break through to victory and be like the 2016 Chicago Cubs.

“Go Cubs Go”

About Cheval John

Cheval John is the Founder and CEO of Vallano Media, LLC, a marketing agency which helps small to mid-sized businesses use social media correctly to build a loyal following and in the process become more profitable. Cheval is also the host of "What's The Word?" a podcast about finding out what inspires people to choose their respective careers and how social media impacted their lives and business. He is the author of two books including the Amazon Best-Seller, "8 Lessons Every Podcaster Needs To Learn." He has spoken at Social Media Week Lima in Ohio and at Social Media Day Houston 2017 about topics around live streaming and podcasting. Cheval has been featured in media outlets like Ebony Magazine and was named a Houston Top 25 Social Media Power Influencer in 2016 and 2017.

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