Season set for a historic ending

The 2016 World Series will mark the end of one of the largest championship droughts in baseball.

The Chicago Cubs will face off against the Cleveland Indians in this year’s installment of the World Series.

The fanbases of the Cubs and the Indians have long been tortured. The Cubs have not won a World Series championship since 1908 – 108 years ago – while Cleveland has not won one since 1948.

Combined, these teams have gone 176 seasons without taking home a championship.

But as of recently, these fanbases have had more reasons to be optimistic, regardless of their team’s past history.

The Cubs won an MLB-leading 103 games this season, giving them the best record in the league.

The Cubs were led by an abundance of young talent, such as outfielder Kris Bryant, second baseman Javier Baez and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

These young players, and a group of accomplished veterans, were brought to Chicago by new general manager Theo Epstein, who turned the Cubs from perennial losers to World Series contenders in his five years with the team.

Epstein is no stranger to turning struggling teams into championship contenders, as he was the architect of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who won their first championship in 86 years under his leadership.

The Indians are also looking to break a long streak of play-off futility this season after not winning a World Series title in the last 68 seasons.

This streak was representative of the sports landscape in Cleveland, where no major Cleveland sports team had won a championship since 1964 until the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship in June.

The Indians have been led by stellar pitching throughout the playoffs, as they have held two of the most potent offenses in the MLB in check in their first two series.

Led by relief pitcher Andrew Miller, who has been nearly unhittable in the playoffs, the Indians have relied on pitching and defense to get them to the World Series.

Now that these two troubled franchises have finally reached the World Series, the arbitrary nature of the sport kicks in.

Both of these fanbases are naturally excited that their team is in position to win the World Series, but the fear of a heartbreaking loss looms over every pitch.

Cubs fans have become known for their phrase “wait ‘til next year,” often uttered after the final game of the season as a concession of defeat and beleaguered optimism for over the last century.

The Cubs hadn’t even reached a World Series since 1945.

The Cubs have gone 71 years without an opportunity to bring a title back home to the Windy City.

Think about all the generations of Cubs fans who not only have never seen them win a championship, but have never even seen their beloved team have the chance to.

On one night in the coming week, one of these two teams will end their championship drought.

Fans will celebrate a victory that was decades in the making, and the team will be seen as heroes to their city.

But as one drought is guaranteed to end in 2016, the other will be guaranteed to continue for at least one more season.

They’ll do the only thing they can: wait ‘til next year.