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‘Game Seven’ — Unquestionably the Best 2 Words in Sports

World Series
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What “I love you” is to the human condition, “Game seven” is to sports. They’re the most powerful two words in sports: no others have the capability of capturing attention quite like this duo.

You may disagree — “free tickets,” “dollar beer” and “Yankees lose” all have a certain “stop what you’re doing and pay attention” quality to them, but in terms of suspense, they don’t hold a candle to the seventh and deciding game.

And Game Seven of the 2016 World Series will once again provide the drama this winner-takes-all matchup holds, against a backdrop we’ve never seen.

The Indians’ Corey Kluber and the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks won’t just try to outduel each other — they’re both out to outduel history and the ghosts that have haunted both franchises for a combined 176 years since either hoisted a World Series trophy.

Game Seven, in any sport, is a lesson in intensity and legacy, but there’s something altogether magical about it being played in baseball. Remember the seventh game of the 1991 World Series that went 10 innings? Kirby Puckett cemented his iconic status in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but Gene Larkin and Dan Gladden provided the winning moment:

The matchup in 2001 between the Diamondbacks and the Yankees went up with the horrors of the September 11 attacks still fresh in the country’s mind. Game Seven turned into one for the ages with an ending that capped the greatest season in Arizona’s history.

More recently, we saw Madison Bumgarner of the Giants absolutely own the Royals in 2014, putting the finishing touches on a remarkable season by coming on in relief to seal the title in a tense Game Seven.

Either the Cubs or the Indians will be the next to join this auspicious list of Game Seven winners, but it’s not just about making history for these franchises — it’s about erasing history and exorcising demons. That’s the power of going the distance in a series.

The winning team will have the good fortune to be part of a drought-busting victory and never have to worry about footing a restaurant bill within 50 miles of their respective metropolises, while the losers will have the agony of enduring a lesser-known two-word phrase that no baseball player wants any part of: long winter.

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