Things to know as Wrigley Field hosts first World Series game in 71 years
Game 3 of the World Series vs. the Indians takes place Friday night in Chicago
On Friday night, the Chicago Cubs will host the Cleveland Indians for Game 3 of the 2016 World Series. The winner takes a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series. Just as important: This is the first World Series contest hosted within the friendly confines since 1945 -- some 71 years ago.
In preparation for what's sure to be an exciting night, let's take a look at some things to know about Wrigley Field's history with the World Series.
1. More than 25,000 days have passed
Of course, 71 years is a very long time. Put into perspective, it's been 25,951 days since the the most recent World Series at Wrigley Field, back on Oct. 10, 1945. That's more than 622,000 hours; 37,000,000 minutes; and 2,000,000,000 seconds. Or 3,707 weeks, per this website.
Chicago is a Catholic city, right? Pope Francis was 9 years old. Vin Scully? He was 17. Neither pro wrestler Dusty Rhodes nor actor Henry Winkler had been born -- not for a few weeks, anyway. Super fan Bill Murray hadn't been born, either ... by a few years. Speaking of entertainment, CBS was experimenting with color images back then.
You get the point: It has been a long, long, long time since Wrigley Field hosted a Series game.
2. About that game ...
Most of us weren't around in 1945, and those who were have sufficient reason be foggy about the details of what happened in Game 7. To recap: the Cubs lost 9-3 to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first, chasing Cubs' starter Hank Borowy after three batters.
Borowy had sufficient reason to be foggy on the details. After throwing more than 250 regular-season innings, he'd appeared in Games 1, 5 and 6 before the Game 7 start, which, by the way, was his third of the Series. In all, he faced 78 batters in the World Series -- 41 over a four-day stretch.
To think we are concerned about Andrew Miller's workload.
3. About this game ...
We've already previewed the game elsewhere, but this is the latest game ever hosted at Wrigley Field, so we'll make an exception and touch on it again here.
Basically, we'll see a battle of finesse right-handers. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks keeps barrels off his high-80s fastball through precise location and smart sequencing with his high-grade changeup. Josh Tomlin, Cleveland's probable starter, has altered his pitch selection this postseason, leaning more and more on his curveball. He's had home run problems throughout his career, in part because he refuses to walk hitters -- that could be a bad combination against an elite Cubs lineup.
We'll see how this one goes, but on paper, the matchup favors the Cubs. And, if the Cubs do win? It'll be their first victory at Wrigley Field in a World Series since October 8, 1945.
4. Cubs got close to the Series in '84 and '03
This is the first pennant-winning Cubs team since 1945, and in the 71 years since, their best chances to return to the World Series were in 1984 and 2003. In 1984 they had a 2-0 series lead over the Padres in what was then the best-of-five NL Championship Series.
San Diego won Games 3 and 4, and in that Game 5 the Cubs led 3-2 through 6 1/2 innings. Then Leon Durham let a ball get through his legs that opened the floodgates and allowed the Padres to take the lead.
The Padres won 6-3 to clinch their first pennant.
The 2003 NLCS loss to the Marlins was somehow more devastating. The Cubs took a 3-1 series lead before losing Games 5, 6, and 7. Game 6 was the killer. That was the Steve Bartman/Alex Gonzalez error game. The Cubs were up 3-0 and were six outs away from going to the World Series when the Marlins put an eight spot on the board.
Rough. From 1946-2015, the Cubs played six games in which a win would have sent them to the World Series, and they lost all six: Games 3-5 in the 1984 NLCS and Games 5-7 in the 2003 NLCS.
5. Cubs have been to the postseason 8 times since '45
Only eight postseason appearances in 71 years, but to be fair the League Championship Series round wasn't adopted until 1969. Prior to that the best team in each league met in the World Series. The first wild card was adopted in 1995, and in 2012 the second wild card was added.
Here are their eight results since Game 7 of the '45 Series:
1984: Lost NLCS to Padres (3-2)
1989: Lost NLCS to Giants (4-1)
1998: Lost NLDS to Braves (3-0)
2003: Lost NLCS to Marlins (4-3)
2007: Lost NLDS to Diamondbacks (3-0)
2008: Lost NLDS to Dodgers (3-0)
2015: Lost NLCS to Mets (4-0)
2016: Playing Indians in World Series (series tied 1-1)
Four sweeps? Ouch.
6. Wrigley has seen way more postseason games the past two years
Take a gander at the amount of Cubs home playoff games since their last World Series appearance:
That's nine in the past two years, but the Cubs will host Games 3, 4, and 5 in the coming days. As such, they'll have 12 home postseason games from 2015-16 ... for reference, they had 14 from 1946 through 2014.
Fair to say times are better in Cubsland these days. Much better.
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