Worth The Wait: Chicago Cubs Headed Back To World Series, Defeat Dodgers In Game 6 (Highlights)
Jerry Lai, USATSI

For the first time since 1945, the Chicago Cubs are the last team standing in the National League thanks to a 5-0 NLCS-clinching win.

Steve Bartman, wherever you are hiding, take a deep breath and show yourself.

It took 71 years, but the Chicago Cubs are finally heading back to the World Series. With a shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight, they took the NLCS in six games, winning the last three contests combined between Dodger Stadium and Wrigley Field.

Curses are an absurdly ridiculous theory, and these 2016 Cubs proved it. No, this was not Mark Prior blowing a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of Game 6. No, this was not Alex Gonzalez booting a pivotal tailor-made double play ball.

This was Kyle Hendricks pitching an absolute masterpiece with zero hiccups, limiting LA to two hits while striking out six over 7.1 scoreless frames. This was Addison Russell effectively turning a double play to end the city’s well-documented miseries.

Three runs in the first two innings set the tone for Chicago, a team that pounced on Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw, flipping the script from Game 2. Solo shots from Wilson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo in the fourth and fifth, respectively, put the icing on the cake.

A 5-0 lead was handed over to flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman with one out and a man on in the eighth and, on a chilly October night, there was no Bartman to be found. The “Cuban Missile” did what he was acquired to do, firing 1.2 scoreless innings to slam the door on the NLCS.

Javier Baez, who hit .318 in the series with numerous brilliant, crucial plays at second base, and Jon Lester, who was stellar in both Games 1 and 5, were awarded a share of the NLCS MVP.

The choices were obvious, but the overall result signified more.

It was a city gaining what they so desperately coveted — and deserved. It was Theo Epstein becoming an undisputed Hall of Fame general manager. It was a team accomplishing what they set out to do from the get-go, achieving the unthinkable.

Now, the magic number is four. In order to win their first World Series title since 1908, the Cubs will have to defeat the Cleveland Indians in a best-of-seven Fall Classic, with all of the action beginning Tuesday night.

The atmosphere was intoxicating, the players were poised, there was no sense of let-up, and the outcome reflected the aforementioned factors.

The Cubbies can “Fly The W” just a little bit higher tonight.