INDIANAPOLIS, Ind – Baseball fans can relive a piece of recent history this weekend.
FOX59 will rebroadcast game seven of the 2016 World Series on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Cubs beat the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings to secure the franchise’s first championship in 108 years.
Lifelong Cubs’ fan and longtime Chicago radio/television host David Kaplan joined Dave Griffiths on FOX59 Overtime on Friday night to reminisce about the clinching game and the build up to it.
“Everyone was terrified,” said Kaplan. “I was with [Cubs’ executive] Theo Epstein earlier that day. I was getting coffee at the team hotel and I see Theo. About ten minutes later, he sends me a text and it says, ‘hey man, relax. We got this.”
Kaplan hosted pre and post game shows with former MLB outfielder Todd Hollandsworth throughout that magical season. He wrote a book titled “The Plan” detailing the Cubs run to their first world championship since winning back-to-back titles in 1907 and ’08.
Chicago held a comfortable 6-3 lead in the eighth inning of the deciding game.
“They could literally have been up 150 to nothing with two outs and nobody on in the ninth and nobody in Chicago would have relaxed,” Kaplan said. “We would have gone, ‘they can find a way to screw this whole thing up.'”
They found a way. Cleveland’s Rajai Davis smacked a two-run homer off Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman to tie the game.
The Cubs spirits were down, but received a little help from Mother Nature in the form a 17-minute rain delay. The team held an impromptu meeting in a weight room and were able to re-group when play resumed, scoring two runs in the top of the 10th.
Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been a frequent guest on Kaplan’s radio show over the years and has talked about the importance of the delay.
“Anthony said if that rain delay doesn’t happen with Jason Heyward calling the meeting, there is no chance the Chicago Cubs win,” Kaplan recalled. “‘J-Hey’ just said, ‘we’ve come too far. There’s too much on the line. It’s our time.'”
Things got interesting again in the Indians’ half of the 10th, but Mike Montgomery got Michael Martinez to ground out to third baseman Kris Bryant to end the game.
“When it happened, for a minute you’re, ‘did that just happen?’ Yeah, that’s our new reality.” Kaplan said of the final out. “Then I looked at the sky, because my dad is gone. He’s the reason I’m a baseball fan and I do what I do. I pointed at the sky and said, ‘we did it.’ Then it was just bedlam. It was awesome.”