The curse has been lifted, Cubs fans. (Sorry, but the curse remains, Indians fans.)
In Wednesday’s incredibly dramatic Game 7 of the World Series, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-7, in 10 innings to claim their first championship since 1908. (To put that in perspective, the television hadn’t even been invented yet when the Cubs last won it all.)
It was a tense, tightly contested game throughout, with fans of both teams agonizing over the possibility of another crushing loss. (Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948, either.) The Cubs took an early 5-1 lead, sparked by a lead-off home run from Dexter Fowler. But the Tribe came all the way back in the 8th with a two-run home run by Rajai Davis, tying the game 6-6. The game went to extra innings (following an excruciating, 17-minute rain delay), but the Cubs broke the tie in the 10th with clutch RBIs from Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero. Davis singled home a run in the bottom of the 10th, but Michael Martinez grounded out to clinch the Cubs win.
With two beloved franchises battling for their first championship in more than half a century, this year’s World Series has been a ratings grand slam for Fox. Tuesday’s game was the most-watched Game 6 since 1997, with 23.4 million tuning in to see the Cubs tie the series up. The series has averaged 20 million total viewers through six games, making it the most-watched World Series since 2004, when the Boston Red Sox overcame their own curse to win the franchise’s first title since 1918.
With a high-drama, extra-innings finish, ratings for Wednesday’s Game 7 are expected to be gigantic, perhaps in the 40 million viewer range. That would push it past this year’s Oscars (34.4 million) — though still far short of the Super Bowl and (shiver) the three Trump-Clinton presidential debates.
The other networks sensed a ratings juggernaut on the way, and adjusted accordingly. Facing a Game 7, NBC pulled new episodes of Blindspot, Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D., and CBS yanked an all-new Criminal Minds, replacing them with reruns. (ABC aired the 50th Annual CMA Awards, which was scheduled back in May; The CW stuck with new episodes of Arrow and Frequency.)
Cubs fans, where you at? And how many total viewers do you think Game 7 will pull in? Make your guesses in the comments.