KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Cubs and Indians fans across the country are on their seats as the two teams meet for Game 7.
With the Cubs seeking their first championship since 1908 and the Indians trying to stop a drought that dates to 1948, the stakes could hardly be higher. Baseball Hall of Famer and former Cubs pitcher Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins was in Knoxville for the grand opening of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet’s 12th store, but said he wouldn’t miss the game.
Jenkins plans to fly back from Knoxville to his home in Arizona to watch the game with a few golfing buddies. “We’ll sit there, have a few pops and relax and watch the game,” he said.
It’s no surprise Jenkins is rooting for the Cubs. Chicago is trying to become the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals and the first to do it by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
“Tonight is very important. It would be great if the Cubs were to be able to win,” said Jenkins. “I made a prediction that the Cubs are going to win 4-1 so I hope it comes to pass, but the Cleveland Indians organization, they have a good ball club, so who knows?”
As a professional pitcher for 21 years, Jenkins said he would be watching Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks very closely during the game.
“Hendrix as a right handed pitcher changes speeds. He doesn’t throw as hard as I threw, but he has the ability,” said Jenkins. “A lot of people say he has ice in his veins. Things don’t bother him. He goes up there and he can throw change-ups whenever he wants.”
As to what the players are thinking going into the World Series, Jenkins said it is just another game to them. He said they’ll put their uniforms on, prepare themselves mentally and then just let adrenaline take over.
“The guys on the field, they feel the pressure from time-to-time, but they have done it so much it’s just hand eye coordination and your ability against the other team and I think that you’re gong to see a good ball game tonight,” said Jenkins.
Win or lose, Jenkins can agree that it will be a good game. Police have reported no major problems with fans, but hundreds of uniformed and undercover police officers are expected to deploy around Wrigley field neighborhoods.
“I think the city would be over-run if they win,” said Jenkins. “You get 41,000 people in the stadium and 30,000 people in the neighborhood on the street.”