Nolan Arenado and Javier Baez stood in the cool moonlight of Wrigley Field’s infield and shared a warm embrace. The world — and game — raged on all around them, but it all faded into background noise as the tender embrace turned to gentle back-patting and ear-to-ear smiles.
It was a bizarre moment for a hug. The bottom of the 11th of a winner-take-all game with the play still going on. It was not what anyone expected to happen when Willson Contreras hit a chopper to the left side with two on and one out. Managers, umpires, and players seemed a bit mystified. Everyone knew Baez, as a baserunner, wasn’t allowed to do that. Everyone also saw Arenado smile and show complete indifference toward making a throw.
So the game went on without an interference call. The Rockies recorded the final out of the frame. An incredible controversy was avoided. Colorado almost hugged itself into elimination. Two innings later, they squeezed the life out of the Cubs. All it took was three straight two-out singles by Trevor Story, Gerardo Parra, and Tony Wolters to eke out the second, game-winning run.
The Cubs season didn’t end in one big explosion. It ended in a thousand cuts. It ended because the pressure finally broke them. Over the past two