1. The Final At-Bat
I know I’ve said this a couple times already but you literally could not have scripted a better way to end a career. I was lucky enough to be at Game 7 in Cleveland and I still can’t describe the feeling in the stadium as the game went into the later innings.
Cleveland fans were feeling confident knowing they had the momentum of the game and let’s be honest, they were playing the Cubs. A team that has historically found a way to fuck shit up so Cubs fans (including myself) could not sit still and were just waiting for that moment to show.
What I initially thought was going to be “that moment” was immediately after David Ross checked into the game in the sixth inning. Jon Lester bounced one to the plate and the ball caromed and hit Ross right in the face mask.
Ross stumbled and literally fell on his face and two Indians runs crossed the plate to trim the Cubs lead to 5-3. I said to myself, “There it is. There’s the moment. A wild pitch that allows not one, but TWO, runs to score.”
I couldn’t be mad at Ross because Lester’s pitch was hot trash. Ross had a chance to redeem himself in the bottom half of the inning because he was due up at the plate. The only problem?
He had to face the best reliever in the game, Andrew Miller.
In what would be his last at-bat of his career, the journeyman catcher stepped in and took one deep over the center field wall to get back one of the runs that he allowed to cross in the top half.
A home run in Game 7 of the World Series during the last at-bat of your career off the best reliever in the game.
Let that sink in.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about myself:
I’m a jersey snob.
I only buy jerseys of players that I know will last with the Cubs long-term or players that are considered to be legends. I never bought a Nomar Garciaparra jersey because I knew he’d never last. As much as I loved Mark Prior, I knew he wouldn’t make it. Hell, I’m probably the biggest Jake Arrieta fan on Earth but there’s no way in hell I’m going to buy his jersey because I know this will probably be his last year with the Cubs.
With that said, immediately following the Game 7 victory in Cleveland, I stumbled back to my hotel room, got onto my phone, and bought a David Ross jersey. Yes, I was absolutely hammered and although he was only with the team for two years, I haven’t seen a player in my time have a bigger impact on a team than what he’s done the past two years.
And for that, I’ll be forever grateful.