Baseball is a dying sport, or so we're told.
It's too slow. The games are too long. There's not enough action to appease the all-important millennials.
Commissioner Rob Manfred even talked about changing the rules of the game to limit pitching moves and speed up the action, a knee-jerk idea that makes you wonder if he even understands baseball.
Then came Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, which should put an end to all of that nonsense.
The Cubs 8-7, 10-inning victory was so dramatic, so full of managerial intrigue and player emotion, and so fun to watch that it could be the start of a baseball renaissance.
"It was epic," Cubs President Theo Epstein said. "Has to be one of the top three games of all time."
"Hard to believe," former Cub Ryne Sandberg added. "One of the best Series of all-time, and one of the best 7th games. Hard to take, but I'll take it."
The epic showdown between two teams with storied histories of collapses helped make it that much sweeter. Another patented Cubs collapse was about to go down in team lore, only for a vintage Indians meltdown to swallow it up.
When it all came crashing down for the Cubs in the eighth inning of Game 7, that old familiar feeling returned in the pit of your stomach.
Aroldis Chapman had just surrendered a game-tying, two-run homer to Rajai Davis with the Cubs four outs away from their first World Series championship since 1908.
Whether you were a fan or an owner, it felt the same way.
"I about threw up three times, literally," Cubs owner Laura Ricketts said. "This was one of the hardest nights of my life, including childbirth. I about threw up several times. My nephew started crying in the ninth, and I said, 'Hey buddy, Cubs never quit. We never quit. Don't cry. We're going to get another at bat. I promise you.'
"And they did."
Laura's brother, Tom, the Cubs chairman, wasn't ill, just disappointed.
"Obviously, I was like a lot of other people, hoping these would be the last few outs of the game," he said. "It didn't work out that way. Aroldis has been so clutch for us all season, and to give up a hit like that was unexpected. But nobody freaked out. Everyone just kind of held together, kept moving forward, and finished the game."
Well, some freaked out, even if they didn't care to admit it. There's no more pressure on a player than being in Game 7 of the World Series, and there's no more pain than being pegged as an all-time goat.
Just ask Bill Buckner, Mitch Williams or any other player synonymous with a classic World Series flop.
Chapman's insertion in the eighth inning had America scratching its collective head, via Twitter, of course. And when he failed in the biggest game of his life, it was all on manager Joe Maddon for putting him in that situation in the first place.
But Chapman got out of the inning and retired the Indians in order in the ninth, which preceded the 17-minute rain delay that was treated like manna from heaven.
"The best rain delay of all-time," Anthony Rizzo said.
There are no stats to quantify the value of rain delays, but this one was important because of the words of Jason Heyward, who gathered the team together and told them this was their moment to show what they're made of.
"It was information we already knew," Addison Russell said. "Just reiterating it and putting it in a (different) way. 'J-Hey' said it so beautifully, and we all came together."
Heyward has been a bust offensively after signing his eight-year, $184 million deal, and fans have been frustrated he has been unable to get into a groove. But his teammates love him, and perhaps of more importance, they respect him.
"It's kind of beating a dead horse but I really need people to understand what this guy has done for us, day in and day out, regardless of what he does offensively," Jon Lester said. "I know that's what everyone wants to look at, but this guy has saved our pitching staff more runs and more long innings than anyone on that field probably, other than Javy Baez. This guy is a special, special player. He spoke up at the right time."
Heyward's words were heeded, and the Cubs launched the 10th inning rally that sent them to their first championship since 1908.
After celebrating on the mound, the players carried retiring catcher David Ross off on their shoulders, a Disney-esque finish for a journeyman catcher who finally found a home where he least expected.
In the postgame clubhouse, drenched with champagne and exhausted, Laura Ricketts looked back on Game 7 — the collapse, the comeback and the celebration — as a five-hour life lesson.
"What a great example for kids," she said. "Never quit, and here is where it gets you. But really, when I was telling my nephew that, I was also telling myself that, because I wanted to cry, too."
But whether you were crying in Game 7, or throwing up or giving an inspirational speech, this was a night where passion exceeded the pressure.
In the end, Game 7 was not too slow, it was not too long, and there was enough action to satisfy any generation, even one with a short attention span.
Baseball is alive and well, thanks to a World Series game for the ages. Bravo to the Cubs and the Indians for reminding us again why we love this game.