CLEVELAND — If the Cubs are going to win their first World Series since 1908, they’ll have to do it on the road. And maybe that’s a good thing.
The Cubs felt the nervous energy in Wrigley Field over the weekend, so perhaps getting away from it for Game 6 (and potentially Game 7) of the World Series will benefit a lineup that’s struggled to score runs against the Cleveland Indians. Catcher David Ross felt like the Cubs would be able to play loose in Cleveland and without the weight of over 40,000 fans on their shoulders.
The nervous energy will be transferred to the stands at Progressive Field on Tuesday for a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series since 1948. It’ll be lessened to an extent, though, given the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this year brought a title to this championship-starved city — fans at the Cavs’ season opener/ring ceremony game a week ago felt there was a major release of pressure when LeBron James & Co. stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
But Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees a benefit to his team trying to win its first World Series since 1908 away from Chicago.
“There's so much going on at home, even just getting to the ballpark,” Maddon said. “I know just family situations here, just taking care of everybody and just the inundated feeling that you get here, possibly it could loosen them up a little bit. Going from the hotel (on the road), the bus ride to the ballpark is a lot easier, quicker.”
This is one of those nebulous, unquantifiable things that has an impact, to an extent, on a closely contested World Series that’ll be played in unseasonably warm, 60-to-70-degree temperatures. What will have a far more of an impact, though: Getting Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup as a designated hitter.
“I kind of like the way all this is trending,” Maddon said. ‘I think our kids are going to react well on the road, like you said. I totally agree with that. Beyond that, Schwarber and the weather has given us somewhat of a break.”