A Cubs fan's World Series diary: Staving off death, keeping hope alive

A Cubs fan's World Series diary: Staving off death, keeping hope alive

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Fans cheer after the Chicago Cubs won Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Chicago.Fans cheer after the Chicago Cubs won Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Chicago.
Image: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
2016%2f09%2f16%2f8f%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lza3.f09f1By Marcus Gilmer2016-10-31 13:08:12 UTC

"There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'not today.'"

At some point on Sunday, on my drive from Chicago back home to Cleveland, thinking about the Cubs failures in Game 3 and Game 4, I found my mood getting lighter. I was still nervous, as any fan would be with their team on the brink of elimination, but I wasn't wound up tight, feeling like I was going to barf.

Drove back from Chicago to Cleveland and somewhere around Toledo, the cloud of doom lifted. Odds are against the @cubs but I feel okay.

— Marcus Gilmer (@marcusgilmer) October 30, 2016

For Game 5, I wanted to be relaxed and just take the game as it unfolded, one out, one inning at a time. Come what may, the Cubs are in the World Series so I wanted to enjoy it.

I wouldn't say I stayed relaxed, and I wouldn't say I necessarily enjoyed every moment of Game 5.

But I was happy with the outcome, a tight 3-2 Cubs win. Very happy.

THIS IS FINE.#FlyTheW pic.twitter.com/1CGbk7UScl

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 31, 2016

And now the cycle begins anew, trying to stay calm and upbeat, knowing I'll be in attendance for Game 6 in Cleveland on Tuesday and, hopefully, Game 7 on Wednesday.

Deep breaths.

Defense!

So, how about that defense? Game 4 saw a few blunders that cost the Cubs but on Sunday night, a couple of huge plays kept the Cubs in it.

First and foremost: Jason Heyward. He's been a flop offensively in 2016 but this is the kind of defense he's capable of and why he's still in right field. (Also, had a nice evening at the plate.)

Mid-air adjustment. https://t.co/DDDCDcQTsB #WorldSeries pres. by @TMobile pic.twitter.com/TVzWngQBcC

— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 31, 2016

Then there was a pop-fly tag-team between David Ross and Anthony Rizzo. It was a tad bit unnecessary in terms of drama but, hey, no harm and the out was made. Just adding a little pizazz, I guess.

I'll be there for you.

'Cause you're there for me, too. pic.twitter.com/vUbqYKEhkl

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 31, 2016

A team that keeps pulling these plays off has to have the baseball gods on their side, at least for the evening.

Leaving runs on the board

I don't want to be that guy but I'm going to be that guy.

Not to be that guy after the break out inning, but a few more runs woulda been cool

— Marcus Gilmer (@marcusgilmer) October 31, 2016

Leaving men on base has caused more anxiety than anything else in the World Series for me. As great as Cleveland's pitching has been overall, the Cubs have still managed to get men on base, and even in to scoring position, but they've failed to bring home more runs.

Runs they need if they're going to have to face Andrew Miller again and again.

In need of a moment.

The MVP delivers. #LetsGo pic.twitter.com/vPjG1E8CMH

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 31, 2016

The Cubs left two men on base in that big fourth inning and had a man on third in the bottom of the eighth. But in the eighth, with pitcher Aroldis Chapman at-bat, Joe Maddon chose to let Chapman hit instead of subbing in someone who may have actually gotten a hit and driven in that much-needed run.

But three runs proved to be enough. Barely.

If the Cubs are going to pull this World Series comeback off, they need to score in Game 6 like Chicago votes: early and often. (And pray the bullpen holds together.)

What's next?

When my wife and I bought our tickets for Game 6, I figured we'd be seeing the game. I just thought it would be the Cubs up 3-2. But here we are, Cleveland with the lead, and I'm still going.

Josh Tomlin shut the Cubs down in Game 3. Jake Arrieta shut Cleveland down in Game 2. This should be interesting. As will be the sight of me surrounded by 40,000 Cleveland fans, screaming for their own World Series drought to end.

But I have faith.

The Bill Murray scale of World Series anxiety

Heading in to Game 5 Sunday night, according to FiveThirtyEight, Donald Trump had a better chance at winning the presidency over Hillary Clinton than the Cubs had of coming back to win the World Series.

"Things aren't that bad for the Cubs, are th— ohhhh." https://t.co/iunJ5foNuu pic.twitter.com/6W5ON9hxoK

— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) October 30, 2016

After Sunday night's game, FiveThirtyEight's odds for the Cubs weren't much higher, but they were higher than Trump's.

But there's relief for Cubs fans right now, including Bill Murray.

Tears of joy from Bill Murray. #WorldSeries pres. by @TMobile pic.twitter.com/YSopeRyFbA

— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 31, 2016

The Cubs are still alive despite those low odds. The nerves are still there, but the hope is still there, it's still glimmering, and it's a little brighter. There's still a chance.

After Game 5, we're feeling like BillMurray's-pep-talk-in-Stripes.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Cleveland, with first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET.

Game 7 will be Wednesday night in Cleveland.

Topics: Bill Murray, chicago cubs, Cleveland indians, Entertainment, Sports, world series

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