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World Series champions can be viewed without

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    December 12, 2017 2:06 AM PST

    NOW THAT IT is done, finally and triumphantly done, and the Chicago Cubs and their fans need not wait any longer for next year or next century, Joe Maddon and the World Series champions can be viewed without the nervousness of the expectant loser but through the proper lens: as the best team in baseball all season. Sergei Fedorov Jersey .The Cubs ended up precisely where they expected to be following the final out of the 2015 National League Championship Series, when they were ambushed unceremoniously in a four-game sweep by the Mets. If not for the cigar-heavy whiff of the supernatural (the curse, the curse, the curse, the curse), the season on the North Side would have been seen as the ruthless redemption march it was: 103 wins, a potential Most Valuable Player award for the frighteningly good Kris Bryant, and the way the Cubs, in all three postseason series, responded to imminent catastrophe by playing their best, most fearless baseball of the year. In what has been for the past 71 years the foreign space of high-altitude October baseball, theirs all along was a champions response.The historical place of this years World Series can be bandied about over wings and beers as the best ever, because, yes, it really was that good. In the league championship era, which began in 1969, the 1975 Red Sox-Reds classic has been the standard. Two epics -- Royals-Cardinals in 1985?and Twins-Braves in 1991 -- did their decades proud. The 2001 Yankees-Diamondbacks series could not be beaten for endgame dramas, and the steroid-tainted 2002 Giants-Angels clash will always be underrated. In 2011, the one strike away not once but twice Rangers-Cardinals battle replaced the 1986 one strike away Red Sox-Mets moment for pure question-your-existence heartbreak.Superlatives in todays world of noise have virtually no value, for if everything is potentially the best ever, then nothing really ever is. But Cubs-Indians was remarkable baseball, from the two western Pennsylvania-raised managers, Maddon and Terry Francona, to the grim, resolute and finally exhausted professionalism of Corey Kluber to the frothy youthfulness of Francisco Lindor to the collective inevitable to doubt then back to inevitable February to November march of the Cubs, the 2016 season ended with the kind of reaffirmation and fireworks baseball sorely needed. It was a sport that wobbled rudderless, enduring an awkward closure and a proud farewell, consistently unable to address the serious issues roiling its surface while it heads into an uncertain winter of labor.The game hauls in nearly $10 billion in annual revenue, and yet in the postseason, baseball made its fans work extra to simply find its product, as the games rotated from MLB Network to ESPN to TBS to FOX to FS1. The money spends well enough, and this short-term complete surrender to television has made owners rich, but the game cannot say its product is not damaged when it is not available in bars and hotels and homes across America because the biggest major league games are being broadcast on, at least for baseball, minor league stations. When viewers finally did locate the right channel, they were deserving of a classic, and the Cubs and Indians gave them one.IN EVERY ELIMINATION game of the postseason, whether attempting to finish off the Giants and Dodgers or trying to first stay alive in Games 5 and 6 and then beat the Indians in Game 7, Aroldis Chapman stood on the mound for the Cubs. Although never articulated in such terms during the season, Chapman was quite probably the most impactful player in baseball this year, affecting the immediate present and long-term future of three franchises in the span of four months. Against the Dodgers, Chapman was the winning pitcher in the opener and finished two others, his 103 mph fastball informing how the opposition managed, shortening the game, withering hope in the other dugout.That Chapman was instrumental in extinguishing the Dodgers was noteworthy because many moons ago, last December, it was the Dodgers who rescinded their acquisition of him after Chapman was detained?after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend that included him firing off several rounds from a handgun into parts of their house, according to a police report. Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Chapman 30 games. The Dodgers broke off the deal with Cincinnati, who then traded Chapman to the Yankees, who then at the trade deadline dealt him to the Cubs for a host of prospects the Yankees believe will help return them to their place atop the American League within a couple of seasons.While Chapman was leading the Cubs through October, the New York Giants released Josh Brown, the kicker whose abusive relationship with his wife was revealed. Brown is currently out of the NFL, unlikely to return. After two years, Ray Rice is still hoping for a distant, long-shot chance to return. Chapman, meanwhile, hoists a World Series trophy.There is no right answer. For its part, baseball suspended Chapman, whose legal battle ended when charges were dropped not because he was found innocent of wrongdoing but because his girlfriend and family chose not to cooperate. Chapman did not appear to be particularly contrite during the season, possibly because of the language barrier with reporters, and he also went through the legal process and fulfilled the disciplinary demands of his sport. Therefore, he went on, as people throughout society are usually allowed to do after wrongdoing, to make a living.Yet in the ruthless world of sports competition, where the talent is literally irreplaceable, the Dodgers succumbed to public pressure and escaped from the Chapman deal. There is no one in baseball like Chapman, and while the Dodgers decision to distance themselves from him might have won them a few plaudits, it very well might have also cost them the pennant. Dodgers closer?Kenley Jansen?saved 47 games with a 1.83 ERA, giving up 35 hits in 68 2/3 innings. Chapman pitched 58 innings, gave up 32 hits and posted a 1.55 ERA with 36 saves. The combination, in Dodger Stadium no less, of Chapman and Jansen would have been formidable, the best duo in the league, and probably would have altered two games in the NLCS -- Games 1 and 5 -- in which the Dodgers gave up five runs in the eighth inning in each, and lost both.As the Cubs inched closer to their eventual title, many female Cubs fans blanched at the conflict of having to root for their team when Chapman was on the mound. The Cubs might have hesitated on acquiring Chapman, but ultimately they made the deal the Dodgers were not willing to make. Chapman was devastatingly good, the missing piece, and the conflict is real: It was probably inappropriate to suggest that Chapman never be allowed to earn a living playing baseball, and it is true that the Cubs likely do not win the World Series without him. Nothing is clean.IN NEW YORK, Chapman brought the Yankees into the future by being traded to the Cubs for top prospect Gleyber Torres, Rashad Crawford, Billy McKinney and Adam Warren, and almost immediately following his departure, the Yankees said goodbye to the past, releasing Alex Rodriguez on Aug. 13, the day after a bizarre evening that served as a reminder of just how much of the past hasnt been reconciled.There is no one place to start with the famed A-Rod, released with 696 home runs, 2,021 runs, 2,086 RBIs, 3,115 hits, three MVP trophies, 14 All-Star selections at two positions and an estimated $441.3 million in salary alone. All of the figures are staggering, as much as that day in 1998, when Oakland As assistant GM Billy Beane told me that Rodriguez, then 22 and just starting his third full season, was already the greatest shortstop in the history of the game. Better than Banks. Better than Wagner. Better than Ripken, who at the time was still active. Better than them all. Rodriguez was as towering a figure as there was in the game, the true national superstar the game today knows it lacks -- and yet in the greatest indictment of the years of inflated home run numbers and lost confidence in the sport, the Yankees and baseball could not wait to get rid of him.Rodriguez left the game meekly, and the Yankees took off, making an unexpected playoff push that finally fizzled in late September. He joined Sammy Sosa and to a lesser extent Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire as legends without countries. The Yankees offered A-Rod a job. Needing to belong, he accepted, and he went away.The World Series was excellent for the desperation of two cities and two franchises that have waited a long time for a parade. It was excellent for the bottomless reservoir of on-field drama, but it was also excellent because this past World Series was the first in which the taint of steroids seemed, for the moment, to recede. From McGwire-Sosa in 1998 to BALCO in 2003 to the Mitchell report following 2007 to Biogenesis and Rodriguezs full-year suspension announced in 2013, drugs have been the biggest story in baseball since Brady Andersons 50-homer season in 1996. Rodriguez is gone, but the postseason lingered on with the ostracized Rodriguez thriving in the broadcast booth for the playoffs, alongside the exiled Pete Rose. Bonds, rehabilitated, was back in the dugout as the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins and fired after one season. The price has been an expensive one and is not fully paid, with baseball again involved in a limbo, with its great and tainted players more present, but none in the Hall of Fame.In Boston, another 40-something departed the stage, but unlike Rodriguez, David Americo Ortiz Arias, he of the 541 home runs, 2,472 hits and dozens of memories that turned the Red Sox from losers into winners, left with hugs, gifts and goodwill. Ortiz is suspected in baseballs drug wars after being linked to an anonymous report in 2009 that he tested positive for steroids during 2003 survey testing, but he does not carry and has never carried the toxicity of Rodriguez, and he exited as a Boston legend who will be recalled fondly.Ortiz, more so than Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez, stands at the center of the Boston revival, a three-time champion monument few in baseball are eager to deconstruct, even though Ramirez was clearly a steroid user. Through force of an outsized personality and a Boston Marathon moment that galvanized a wounded town, Ortiz, who turns 41 in a week, appears to have survived. He spent his final season not being run out of town but with sore feet, distance from his teammates and having maybe the best season anyone his age has ever had. He was a dinosaur, and all of his friends -- Johnny Damon and Pedro and Manny and Kevin Millar -- were long gone. Ortiz is 17 years older than Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts and 15 years older than Jackie Bradley Jr. Ortiz was closer in age to his 54-year-old manager, John Farrell, than to the young stars in the Red Sox lineup. With three weeks left in the season, Ortiz told me in Oakland, Its time to go.At the beginning of the season, Ortiz was asked hundreds of times why he was retiring. By the end of the season, looking worn, ready and resigned, every bit his 40 years, the question was asked less often, even as his numbers appeared steady. There is no player in the history of Boston baseball who did for the city what Ortiz?did. He changed the attitude of the franchise, epitomized Bostons sudden acquisition of confidence against the Yankees and, as a player of color in an often hostile town, found a way to succeed without playing the stereotype of the Happy Latin to make white fans comfortable. At Game 2 of the World Series, he stood at the podium with the great Hank Aaron accepting his second Hank Aaron Award, telling stories of running into Aaron in the Bahamas. Unlike Rodriguez, Ortiz looked like a made man. In five years, when his name appears on the ballot for Cooperstown, he will find out whether he is one.ROB MANFRED, THE commissioner of baseball, has degrees from Cornell University and Harvard Law School.The GM layer of baseball management boasts Ivy League elite, the best minds from the best universities the country has to offer. Theres Sandy Alderson (Dartmouth, Harvard Law), Rick Hahn (Harvard Law), Jeff Bridich (Harvard), Theo Epstein (Yale), Jon Daniels (Cornell), A.J. Preller (Cornell), Mike Hazen (Princeton), Matt Klentak (Dartmouth), David Stearns (Harvard), Matt Silverman (Harvard) and Jeff Luhnow (Penn). Among the non-Ivies, theres no dropoff of pedigree with Farhan Zaidi (MIT), Jed Hoyer (Amherst), Derek Falvey (Trinity) and Chris Antonetti (Georgetown).Yet with such formidable brainpower in its employ, the culture of the sport having been co-opted by smarts, baseball apparently needs to be told right from wrong, as a kindergartner would be about calling people names. One ubiquitous image ran throughout the Series, and it wasnt the video feed from some North Side tavern of delirious Cubs fans sloshing beer on one another after the eventual winners scored yet another run. It was the red face of Chief Wahoo emblazoned on the sleeves of the Indians uniforms and on the front of their baseball caps, the caricature of big teeth and the untrustworthy smile preceding deception.Manfred has said, completely unconvincingly, that there is no place for racism in the game of baseball. He is wrong, of course. There is a place for it in baseball, and that place is on the jerseys and caps of Clevelands baseball club, the blankets, T-shirts and foam fingers it sells, along with virtually everything for sale in the team gift shop. Before Game 2, sitting next to Aaron and Ortiz, Manfred did the worst thing a white man in his position could do: He attempted to turn an obvious issue of simple decency into one of the great, complex and wrenching issues of our time. He said he and Indians owner Paul Dolan would revisit the issue of Chief Wahoo, as if an image borne from one of the most racist periods in American history required further review, discussion, caucus or, worse, some form of canvassing of an indigenous tribe to ask if its offended by the use of the logo, as if the commissioner of a multibillion-dollar industry has no common sense of his own.A month earlier, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones called baseball a white mans sport, referring to the daily culture and power structure of the sport, of who makes decisions, who plays the game and why baseball would never see a Colin Kaepernick-style protest of social issues. A day before Manfred spoke, some umpires were frustrated that only one minority umpire -- Alfonso Marquez, who is Mexican -- has worked a World Series game in nearly a decade. An African-American umpire, Kerwin Danley, last worked a World Series game in 2008, and the 2016 season, for all its talk of progress, diversity and the legacies of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, nearly started without a black manager in the game. African-Americans Dave Roberts and Dusty Baker, who filled the last two slots, wound up meeting when the Dodgers played the Nationals in the NL Division Series, while the Cubs, who hadnt reached the World Series since before integration, had never fielded a black player in the World Series before this years run.Manfred took the question of Chief Wahoo with a head shake and a flash of temper, as if he were the one being inconvenienced by baseballs willful racism. There is a difference between difficult and complicated, and the issue of Native Americans as caricatures for sports teams might be difficult because the white men in charge have no interest in the courage it would take to retire top-selling images or confront the appearance of succumbing to public pressure, of being told what to do and to alienate the overwhelmingly white season-ticket base. But it is not complicated. If his degrees have any meaning, Manfred knows this, too: The mascot must go.MIKE NAPOLI POPPED up to the catcher to end the fourth inning of Game 5. It was the last time the Cleveland Indians had a lead in the 2016 season and marked the start of the Cubs marathoners kick to their long-awaited championship. For the next two and a half games across two cities and two time zones, baseball would bear witness to the type of separation from the rest the Cubs had mastered throughout the summer, and it was these little bursts of acceleration that kept doubt from reaching a critical point.Eventually, the better team won, whether the jolt came from Kyle Schwarber, the whiz who hadnt played all season after knee surgery yet came out of rehab and hit .412 during the Series; or Bryant, who homered in two of the final three games; or David Ross, the grizzled retiring catcher who homered off Andrew Miller; or Dexter Fowler, who struggled the entire series as the first African-American player to step on the field for the Cubs in a World Series game. Fowler started Game 7 with a home run, and a black pitcher, Carl Edwards, nearly finished the job in the bottom of the 10th, before nerves devoured him and Mike Montgomery forced a Michael Martinez grounder to Bryant that sent the Billy Goat out to pasture and Cubs fans, after 108 years, into the streets.The Cleveland Indians, meanwhile, lost the World Series. They lost the World Series after being up three games to one, something that hadnt happened since 1985, when the Cardinals melted down against the Royals. They lost the World Series with the final two games at home, something else that hadnt happened in a seven-game series since the 1979 Orioles lost to the Pirates. The Cleveland Indians did all these things. They have entered the Boston space of tearful baseball pain, having lost the 1995 World Series 1-0 in Game 6 to Atlanta and the 1997 Series with a ninth-inning lead in Game 7. Cleveland also lost a 3-1 lead to the Red Sox in the 2007 ALCS. They lost another 3-1 lead in this World Series and now, at 68 years, have replaced the Cubs as the team with the longest championship drought in baseball.Yet they did not choke. Francona was brilliant all season, as the Indians won the AL Central by eight games over Detroit, beating the Tigers 14 of 18 times, and the two-time defending AL champion Royals by 13 1/2 games, beating them 14 of 19. Franconas squad eliminated his old team, the Red Sox, in a clean three-game Division Series sweep, sending Ortiz meekly into retirement, and powered through the Blue Jays in five surprisingly easy games. They belonged.Francona may be the last manager for some time to attempt to use a pitcher twice on short rest in a seven-game series, as he did with Kluber. Miller, the ALCS MVP, was valiant. Lindor, the 21-year-old shortstop, played fearlessly, making plays and blowing bubbles as big as his future, while the 35-year-old Rajai Davis, even in defeat, need not bring his wallet to the bar after his eighth-inning, two-run homer off Chapman erased what had once been a 5-1 deficit in Game 7 and restored belief one last time.When it was over, and the Cubs had won 8-7, the comeback complete and the wait over, Francona spoke of Game 7, not as a losing manager but as the winner of something more, the exacting pleasure of competition. This game, he said, was an honor to be a part of. Evgeny Svechnikov Jersey . In the lead up - which seemed to begin the moment Mike Geiger blew the whistle in Houston last Thursday night - the Impact rumour mill went into overdrive. The speculation went into meltdown mode, of the golden nugget variety. Frans Nielsen Jersey . "Hes going to have hip surgery on Jan. 7, and hell be expected to rehabilitate for four to six months beyond that," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Friday in an interview. http://www.theredwingsproshop.com/Red-Wings-Chris-Chelios-Adidas-Jersey/ . Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably start travelling with the team in the next few weeks. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. Melbourne star Cooper Cronk admits rugby league would be the winner if Cronulla end their premiership drought in Sundays NRL grand final.The Storm halfback conceded that the Sharks storied chase for an elusive trophy is the storyline of the week, but embraced his teams role as fairytale squashers.Were from interstate and Cronulla havent been there for a long period of time, so theyll have the majority of the sport (behind them), which is great, Cronk said on Monday.Rugby league needs to be the winner in this scenario.But hopefully Melbourne Storm and the people in the purple jerseys can finish the game with a smile on their face knowing that weve played really well and got the result that we all wanted.While the Storm have two official titles in their 19-year existence, long-suffering Sharks have yet to witness their club lift the Provan-Summons trophy since their inception in 1967.However Storm captain Cameron Smith doesnt expect the pressure to squeeze the life out of theirr opposition during the long build-up to the decider at ANZ Stadium. Riley Sheahan Jersey. Theyll be fine. If it was going to affect them, it wouldve affected them through the first few finals to start with, Smith said.Theyve got great leaders in their club in (Michael) Ennis and (Paul Gallen).Wade Grahams there as well, Andrew Fifita, and theyve got exciting young players who play a confident style of footy.I dont think theres going to be any pressure on those guys at all. Theyll just go out and play like theyve played all year.Cronk also conceded that the Sharks were the best team they had played in a season where they split their two matches, including the Storms minor premiership-clinching win in round 26.You can try and dissect and analyse those games as much as possible, but itll come down to whoever executes their game plan the best on Sunday, he said. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '