WRIGLEY FIELD — Thanks, Giants.
The Chicago Cubs clinched their first National League Central Title since 2008 late Thursday after the second-place St. Louis Cardinals lost in San Francisco to the Giants.
The clincher came about two hours after the Cubs lost at home to the Brewers, sending fans hoping to watch the Cubs clinch at Wrigley Field home disappointed.
But that disappointment didn't last long.
The Cubs are in!
Bring on the playoffs for a second straight year. And this time, there's no nail-biting Wild Card game to survive to punch their ticket.
Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville were buzzing Thursday night, with police officers arriving to block off streets and manage the crowd if a title clinching party broke out.
But despite the Cubs narrowing the game to 5-4 in the 8th and then getting a man on in the 9th, they couldn't pull out a late inning comeback.
Fans hoping to celebrate instead filed out of the old ballpark quietly.
"We'll still clinch!" one man shouted.
Fans gathered outside the park, too, hoping to join in the celebration.
Lifelong Cubs fans Adam Stevens and Steve George came in from the Midway area.
Despite not having tickets, the pair camped out under The Sports Corner awning to soak in the atmosphere of the Cubs' final homestand of the regular season.
The pair have attended a dozen games this year and plan to attend Friday's day game — even if they have to shell out $60 for standing room only tickets.
Growing up, Stevens said he first considered himself a Cubs fan at 8 years old, during the heydays of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
Still, "there's no comparing to this year and last year," he said Thursday. "Even with 2003, this is the best team I've seen."
That's why neither was sweating Thursday's game, even as the Cubs trailed by two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
"They'll come back," George said confidently. "And this is the place to be if we win."
It wasn't to be. But thanks to the Cards and the Giants, they didn't have to wait long.
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