By Vivian Drury
So whether you’re a big baseball fan or not, it’s pretty well known that this series is one unlike any other. The Chicago Cubs have not been in the World Series since 1945 and have not won it since 1908, and the Cleveland Indians have not won since 1948.
Cleveland craves to uphold their city of stellar sports title with the Indians after their NBA team, the Cavaliers, won the championship this past summer. Yet the north side of Chicago has been known as the underdog in baseball for decades, making them determined to turn their reputation around with a World Series win.
Both teams are stacked with some of the best players in the MLB. Here’s everything you need to know about each team’s top players:
Francisco Lindor plays shortstop. He is one of the youngest players on the team at age 22, making him young and hungry for a win. Lindor is a star defensive player who always makes big plays and has stepped up as a leader, similar to Chicago’s Kris Bryant. Lindor is also known for having a strong relationship with Cubs’ shortstop Javier Baez after playing together while being scouted for MLB.
Jason Kipnis has quietly had one of the best years for a second baseman in the American League. He is also is consistent when it comes to stepping up to the plate. Kipnis grew up in a Chicago suburb called Northbrook and rooted for the Cubbies throughout his childhood. He was signed by the Indians in 2009 and has been playing for them since his debut on July 22, 2011.
Mike Napoli has lead the team in RBI’s with hits to get players on base sliding into home throughout the regular season and playoffs. In game one of the World Series, he had one run with three at bats.
Corey Kluber has stepped up to be the team ace after Danny Salazar went out for the season with injuries. Kluber and the other starting pitchers have been backed up by one of the most dominant closing group of relievers in baseball, now lead by Andrew Miller. Because of injuries, the starting pitchers for the Indians are known to be one of their weaker points. Head coach of the Cubs, Joe Maddon, advised his team to hit early because once they start changing up pitchers, hitters have no chance against a bull pen of that strength. Kluber and Miller were dominating forces in game 1, prohibiting the Cubbies from scoring single run, despite having bases loaded twice.
Anthony Rizzo is one of the Cubbies’ finest. At first base, he is known for making incredible catches, even if it involves him diving into the bleachers on the right side of the stadium (yes, that actually did happen, click here to see it). Yet he’s just as much a killer at bat than on first base. In the 2016 season, the 27 year old has hit over 30 home runs. His hitting was off during the start of post season, yet after a few home runs in the later games, Rizzo is back and better than ever.
Kris Bryant is one of MLB’s heartthrobs and best players in the National League. At 24, Bryant has hit around 40 home runs this season and has 6 RBIs in the post season alone. Like Rizzo, Bryant is known for his incredible hits against talented pitchers.
Javier Baez is known to be one of the most athletic players on the team. At shortstop, he makes incredible catches and throws to first baseman Rizzo. He has remarkable speed and his hits are just as strong as his catches. Also a very big personality on the team and gets fans very excited whenever he makes a great play or slams a ball into the outfield.
Jake Arrieta is one of the Cubs strongest pitchers. Many fans scream fear the beard when he is on the plate because he is famous for his fire pitches and full beard. Arrieta is a starting pitchers, along with Travis Wood, John Lackey, Jason Hammel, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and a few others. Some of the relief pitchers include Pedro Stropp and Arolis Chapman. Chapman is famous for pitching only one or two innings, yet striking out each player at bat. He came onto the Cubbies mid-season from the Yankees and is definitely paying off.
Kyle Schwarber is the Cubs’ secret weapon in the World Series. Schwarber was out after colliding with fellow player Dexter Fowler in his second game of the season in April. Losing Schwarber to the leg injury was huge for the Cubs, as he was a very successful hitter. Schwarber returns to the team as one of their designated hitters, proven in game one.
Regardless of who you’re rooting for (or if you’re rooting at all), it’s beneficial to have some basic knowledge of what’s going on in the sports world. Also, knowing a little bit about the players and the game may help you get that guy’s attention at the bar who’s eyes are glued to the TV…happy World Series!