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23.05.2018 14:51
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The fleeting storm along Lake Erie couldnt have come at a better time for the Chicago Cubs.It was as if the gods finally cut this snake-bit franchise a long overdue break.One hundred and eight years overdue.Shell-shocked after blowing a three-run lead with four outs to go in Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs looked more like deer staring into headlights as they headed to extra innings against the Cleveland Indians. A series of head-scratching moves by manager Joe Maddon, who seemed intent on making sure the drought lasted into its 109th year, cost Chicago a chance to wrap this thing up in regulation.Then it started raining.The tarp was hurriedly rolled out to cover the infield and the Cubs used the unexpected break to regain their composure with a hastily called team meeting. The delay lasted only 17 minutes, but that was long enough to steady their shaky nerves.Chicago went out in the 10th inning and turned a 6-6 tie into an 8-6 lead. Ben Zobrist delivered a run-scoring double down the left-field line, and third-string catcher Miguel Montero followed with an RBI single to give the Cubs some much-needed breathing room.Then, shortly before 1 a.m. on the East Coast, the Cubs stamped out the Curse of the Billy Goat and Steve Bartman and Black Cats and Fly Balls Lost In the Sun -- everything that conspired to keep them from celebrating a World Series title since their last one in 1908. With the gutsy Indians having scored one final run, cutting the deficit to 8-7 and putting the potential tying run on base, third baseman Kris Bryant swept across the infield, scooped up a soft ground ball and whipped a throw over to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to end it once and for all.Next year finally arrived.Now, they can hoist a championship banner over Wrigley Field, not just a W flag.It happened! It happened! Chicago, it happened! Rizzo kept saying over and over again, as if he wasnt quite sure about it himself. We did it! Were world champions! I tell ya, were world champions! I cant believe it!As one shouldve expected for a franchise that has endured so much misery, the Series-clinching win was downright gut-wrenching. Really, that was the way it had to be. The Cubs raced out to a 5-1 lead and were still up 6-3 with two outs in the eighth. But Maddon had already set in motion an excruciating finish for long-suffering Cubs fans by yanking starter Kyle Hendricks far too soon, and then calling upon overworked closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth to close things out.Chapman, predictably, surrendered a run-scoring hit to make it 6-4, followed by a two-run homer to Rajai Davis that sent Clevelands fans -- who know a thing or two about suffering -- into a delirious dance.With the Cavaliers drought-breaking NBA title already in the bank just a few months ago, it looked as though the Indians would improbably bring home their first World Series title since 1948 to add to the citys trophy case. In the ninth, when Maddon inexplicably called for a safety suicide bunt with two strikes, only to have Javier Baez foul it off for a strikeout with the potential go-ahead run at third base, it seemed inevitable that Chicago would find a way to blow it.Then the skies opened up.And the Cubs settled down.Jason Heyward, a big free-agent signee whos been a huge disappointment in an otherwise thrilling season, called his teammates together in the weight room.I just had to remind everybody who we are and what it took to get here, Heyward said.His words settled everyone down.It was the best thing for us, Bryant said.Rizzo concurred.We rallied together, he said. We knew we could do this. We pulled together and the boys believed.Team architect Theo Epstein, who oversaw a drought-breaking title for the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and now has done the same with the Cubs, happened to walk past the weight room during the delay.They were all gathered around saying, `This is only going to make it sweeter boys. Lets grind. Lets grind. Here we go, Epstein related. They went out and had an unbelievable inning.Cleveland manager Terry Francona downplayed the stoppage, saying he didnt think it decided the game.I dont think it really did, he said. Bryan Shaw was the guy we had out there. Of all the guys we have, he probably bounces back as good as anybody.But Shaw, who got the final two outs in the ninth, looked like a totally different pitcher when he went back to the mound in the 10th. He surrendered three hits and two intentional walks. The only out he got was a towering fly ball by Bryant that was caught just short of the wall in center field.For the Indians, the drought goes on.For the Cubs, theres no more talk about 1908.They are World Series champions.All it took was a stirring comeback from a 3-1 deficit, one of the greatest Game 7s in baseball history -- and a little help from above.---Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry . Lionel Messi Argentina Jersey . The 27-year-old Scrivens will be joining his third NHL club since signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2010. The move also reunites with him with head coach Dallas Eakins from their time together with the American Hockey Leagues Toronto Marlies. Ever Banega Argentina Jersey .com) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to halt their longest losing streak of the season when they host the struggling New York Islanders in tonights clash at the Bell Centre. http://www.wholesaleargentinajerseys.com/federico-fazio-argentina-jersey/ . There are some early surprises in the race for the Hart Trophy, but two of the contenders are the leagues biggest stars over the past decade. There are many more players in contention for the awards than just the three that Ive named, and a good or bad week can easily alter the landscape, but through the first 20 or so games of the NHL season, this is how the awards races look to me. Gabriel Mercado Argentina Jersey . There are surprises among the Vezina candidates, but most of the others are standard top-tier performers, even if the two Hart Trophy runners-ups have never been quite as good as they have been through the first half of the season. Cheap Argentina National Jerseys . The winner Saturday will remain in the elite 10-team field next year. "We talked about wanting to be disciplined and stick with our game plan and good things will come," Draisaitl said, who had two goals for the victors. CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The decision to pull the franchise tag offer on All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman appears to have backfired on general manager Dave Gettleman and the Carolina Panthers.The reigning NFC champions are the leagues most disappointing team following a 1-5 start. The team that went 17-2 last season suddenly finds itself mired in a four-game losing streak and desperately searching for answers heading into their bye week .Theyve looked in complete disarray at times, particularly in the secondary where they have allowed the two highest single-game passing totals in the franchises 22-year history in the past three games -- 503 yards and four touchdowns to Atlantas Matt Ryan on Oct. 2, and 465 yards and four TDs to New Orleans Drew Brees last Sunday.Panthers coach Ron Rivera acknowledged this week it was a little bit of a roll of the dice, I guess to go with younger cornerbacks this season.A roll that has come up snake eyes for the Panthers.It didnt have to be this way, of course.Knowing they were already losing their other starting cornerback Charles Tillman to retirement, the Panthers initially put the franchise tag on Norman on March 1. It was a move, most figured, designed to buy time while they worked out a long-term deal with the cornerback.But six weeks later, after failing to reach an extension with Norman, the Panthers surprisingly rescinded the $13.9 million franchise tag offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.He signed a couple of days later with the Washington Redskins and the Panthers havent been the same since.Carolina tried to replace Norman by drafting three cornerbacks -- James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez -- and adding veteran nickel back Leonard Johnson.The moves simply havent paid dividends so far.Bradberry has missed the past two games with turf toe, Worley has struggled in coverage and Sanchez was beat for an 87-yard touchdown pass by Brandin Cooks last Sunday after initially failing to make the teams opening day roster. Johnson hasnt played all season while recovering from an offseason Achilles injury.Robert McClain, the one returning veteran from last season, is out with a hamstring injury and the team cut Week 1 starter Bene Benwikere after Julio Jones racked up 300 yards against the Panthers.At safety, Tre Boston has struggled filling in for veteran Roman Harper, who was slowing down with age last season but still found ways to be in the riight place at the right time.dddddddddddd.Gettleman declined interview requests for this story.He said back in April that I dont subscribe to the we-are-only-one-player-away theory. He also said in training camp Carolinas pass rush was more than good enough to account for the loss of Norman.But Carolinas pass rush has disappeared.Starting defensive ends Kony Ealy and Charles Johnson have combined for a half-sack this season. The lack of a pass rush combined with a young secondary has resulted in quarterbacks hurting the Panthers through the air.Carolina, a top 10 defense the past four seasons, is giving up 282 yards passing per game and has allowed 13 TDs passing.Well, thats probably the biggest disappointment is we havent had the production we would have liked out of the front, Rivera said.The front has done a nice job. Weve done a good job stopping the run. But thats not whats killing us. ... Weve also got to find other ways to create those opportunities for us to put pressure on the quarterback.With problems in front of them and behind them, Carolinas star linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis have found themselves pressing -- trying to do too much to accommodate for the shortcomings of their defensive teammates.Interestingly enough, the bulk of the money the Panthers saved by jettisoning Norman hasnt been spent. Gettleman had that earmarked for a contract extension for defensive tackle Kawann Short, but that never materialized partly because the Eagles raised the bar for defensive tackles when they gave Fletcher Cox a $17 million-a-year deal.So the Panthers still have $19 million left under this years salary cap -- money they can carry over to next season.Like Norman a year ago, Short is set to become a free agent after the season and the Panthers could face another tough financial decision on defense.Even with Cam Newton back from a concussion, the Panthers have a big climb remaining.Since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, only one of 91 teams has started 1-5 and made the playoffs -- the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs.But Kuechly believes the Panthers are capable.Were going to take a few days off on this bye week and regroup, Kuechly said. Then we will come back and start winning some games.---AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL Wholesale NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys 2019 NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Online Cheap Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '

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