The Chicago Cubs romped to a historic 6-4 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 13, 2015, and booked a berth in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). This was the first series-clinching win at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, and it sent the Chicago Cubs fans into a wild frenzy. The baseball game will, however, be remembered more for the monstrous home run hit by Kyle Schwarber that ended up perched elegantly on top of the video board. Reports suggest that the ball will soon have the equivalent of a glassy mausoleum erected on top of the right field video board as a reminder of the franchise’s first-ever series clincher since 1916.
The Chicago Tribune has revealed that the stadium will “put a plexiglass case around [the ball] to preserve it from the elements.” The source went on to add that this piece of Chicago Cubs history will be a special, protected souvenir. In the future, anyone going up to repair or service the video board will be escorted to avoid theft of the “Schwarber-ball.”
The moment of the “Schwarber-ball” came in the seventh inning when the catcher was batting against Kevin Siegrist. He thumped Siegrist’s pitch with such power that the ball flew to the video board and nestled under the “i” in the Budweiser sign atop the board. The shot gave the Chicago Cubs a 6-4 lead in Game 4, which came after Kris Bryant pounded a go-ahead homer in Game 3, giving the Cubs a lead they never surrendered. After the game, the 42,000 fans who thronged Wrigley exploded into a frenzy and stormed the field to celebrate with their heroes. Most fans wanted to embrace the 22-year-old Schwarber after his epic performance.
Schwarber, who has on a number of occasions been berated for being slow and indecisive when dealing with left-handers, was the hero of the day. Joe Maddon, the manager of the victorious team, lauded praise on the rookie, saying, “Kyle’s home run is a special moment for Chicago Cubs family.” He went on to commend Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Schwarber as youngsters who have shown character and commitment and who do not buckle under pressure. Rizzo, like all other players, was in an ecstatic mood after the game. He told reporters that the victory was for the fans, who had waited patiently to see their Chicago Cubs making history. Even President Barack Obama took to Twitter and congratulated the Cubs for their momentous win.
The euphoric fans, who had long waited for this moment, cherished the victory as one of a kind. Beating the Cardinals for a place in the NLCS was the greatest relief for them. Uppermost in their minds was the haunting superstition, “The Curse of Billy the Goat.” Legend has it that one Billy Siannis, a bar owner, jinxed the North Side in 1945 after his pet goat was thrown out of Wrigley. Ever since then, the team has struggled to clinch a series win at Wrigley.
One fan said, “I’ve been waiting for this moment in my life. I’m glad I came to cheer the lads on.” Most fans believe the curse was exorcised by the “Schwarber-ball,” which will forever hang over Wrigley Field as a talisman. In the video below, Hector Rondon strikes out Stephen Piscotty for the win at Wrigley, sending the North Side to the NLCS.
By Shepherd Mutsvara
Chicago Tribune: Cubs Verify Kyle Schwarber Ball, Will Leave It on Video Board
ESPN: Cubs Simply Overpower the Cardinals
Grantland – Talent Rules Tenure: The Cubs Batter the Cardinals on Their Way to The NLCS
Image Courtesy of Dave Herholz’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License