The Cubs no longer are a punchline.
For decades, the Chicago Cubs baseball team served as an ultimate example of sports futility. After winning a World Series title in 1908 — one of several during a very successful decade — the Cubs and their fan base endured a series of bad trades, bad ownership and bad luck for more than a century.
But Wednesday night, that long stretch of bad road ended when the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings to win the World Series title, rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to do so.
U.S. 66 began nearly 20 years after the Cubs’ previous World Series title. The highway was decommissioned, then underwent a 30-year renaissance — all before the club won another championship.
Many Route 66 travelers who begin their cross-country journey in Chicago take a short side trip to the city’s North Side to see the Cubs’ historic Wrigley Field and catch a game in those venerated bleachers.
So although the Route 66 connection is somewhat peripheral, it remains an indisputably strong one because the Cubs are so rooted in Chicago’s identity.
I grew up mainly in St. Louis Cardinals territory in central Illinois, and my fandom of the Redbirds became more cemented during the team’s miraculous rally in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
But I rooted for the Cubs this year to win the World Series partly because I favor the National League. And how could I root against a team and loyal fan base that has suffered for so long?
Finally, the Cubs winning a World Series is good for baseball, and I am a fan of baseball more than any one team.
Here are some reactions to the victory from Twitter:
1907. 1908. 2016.
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2016
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) November 3, 2016
— Alex Nitkin (@AlexNitkin) November 3, 2016
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) November 3, 2016
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 3, 2016
— ABC News (@ABC) November 3, 2016