There are 27 outs in a nine inning baseball game. Twenty-seven is an important number. It’s the number of outs that pitcher needs to record to pitch a complete game. If a pitcher faces exactly 27 players and records 27 outs, he probably pitched a perfect game. (I say probably, because this is baseball and there are always exceptions.)
Last night the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in game 7 of the world series. Cubs pitchers needed 30 outs since the game went to extra innings. But, 27 was still a significant number to the two teams.
Here’s how the scoring went over the seven games:
If you add up the runs for each team, you can see that that over the course of ten days, seven games and 64 innings, each team scored exactly 27 runs. (Thanks to my friend and long time Cubs fan, David Rice for pointing that out.)
Even people who don’t like baseball will watch the World Series. And when you consider that this series was historic, there were more than usual tuning in. It’s pretty well known that Chicago Cubs hadn’t won a World Series in 108 years. They won it in 1907 and then again in 1908. They went back to the Series a few times, the last time in 1945, losing to the Detroit Tigers. That was the year they refused to allow a guy with a goat to attend the game. The goat had a ticket and everything. The owner of the goat cursed the Cubs and they never went back. . .until this year. Cleveland has been there as recently as 1997 when they lost to the Florida Marin’s.
Baseball is a game of coincidences. Twenty seven outs and twenty seven runs, for example. And baseball fans love to find those coincidences. For example, the Indians led this searies 3-1. The Cubs had to win the last 3 in a row. They did it with a combination of pitchers, starting their ace, Kyle Hendricks. After a few innings, manager Joe Maddon lifted him for Jon Lester who is normally a starting pitcher, but came out of the bullpen to pitch in relief last night.
There have been ten teams that been down 3-1 in a best of seven series and comeback. In fact, the most recent team to lose a series after being up 3-1 were these same Cleveland Indians. It was the 2007 American League Championship Series. They lost to the Boston Red Sox. The pitcher for the Red Sox in game seven? Jon Lester. Yes, the same guy who pitched middle relief last night.
Like I said, baseball loves coincidences.
The Cubs are erasing one of the longest droughts in the history of sports, certainly the longest in baseball. The president of Baseball Operations is a guy named Theo Epstein. He never set foot on the field in a uniform this season, but he was instrumental to this team winning and breaking the curse after more than a century. Epstein was the guy responsible for assembling the winning team. He recruited superstar manager, Joe Maddon. He made trades for the significant players on the team. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without Epstein, this season would never have happened.
Up until a few years ago, the team with the second longest World Series drought was the Boston Red Sox. The story was that because they traded Babe Ruth, the best player to ever play the game, to the New York Yankees, they were cursed to never win another World Series. Babe was sold to the Yankees in 1920. and Boston, who had won five World Series up to that point stopped winning. Meanwhile, the Yankees took off to become the most successful baseball team in history. The curse finally ended in 2004 after 86 years, when the Red Sox, overcame a 0-3 deficit to beat those same Yankees in the best of seven ALCS and went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in four games to win the title.
The Red Sox General Manager was a young thirty year old guy named Theo Epstein. The Red Sox won the World Series two years after hiring him. So, the guy who was the GM that helped the Red Sox break an 86 year World Series drought was also the guy who helped the Cubs end a 108 year drought. He was part of the management team that erased 194 years of baseball angst. (Pretty sure he’ll be elected to the baseball hall of fame at the earliest opportunity.)
Like I said, baseball loves coincidences.
So, the loveable losers finally won it all. Steve Goodman, the songwriter who wrote “City of New Orleans” and “The Perfect Country and Western Song” was a Cubs fan. He wrote a song called “The Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.” The chorus included the words
Do They still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around?
When the snow melts away
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy-covered burial ground?
Steve Goodman, like many Cub fans, went to his grave waiting for Northside Nine to finally win it all. Somewhere he, and a whole host of baseball fans are smiling.
And finally, on the topic of baseball’s love of coincidences, with the Cubs and the Red Sox finally winning, there’s a new holder of the title of Longest Streak without wining a World Series. The team that now holds the distinction of losing the longest, at 68 years and counting?
The Cleveland Indians.
I wonder if they’ll try to hire Theo Epstein?
Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series Champions.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
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