CLEVELAND -- All right. Take a deep breath now. Try to take this all in. There is actually going to be a World Series between (caution: the surgeon general advises you to inhale here) the Chicago Cubs and (please exhale slowly here) the Cleveland Indians.
And no, not on your PlayStation. Not in another raucous production starring Charlie Sheen. On this planet. The one we live on.
So let's attempt to think this through. If that's really happening, then best we can tell, that means that in a week or so ... HOLY CRAP, EITHER THE CUBS OR THE INDIANS ARE GOING TO WIN THE FREAKING WORLD SERIES.
Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis was helpful enough to confirm that Monday, on the eve of Tuesday's Game 1 at Progressive Field.
"I think that's a very special part of this Series," Kipnis said, "that one of these teams has to win."
Well, if that's true, how are we supposed to grasp that, friends? Most of us have never lived on a planet where one of those teams is the champion of the baseball world. So pardon us while we take a moment to get a vertigo prescription filled.
As a species, we need to make sense of these things. And the sooner we begin that process, the better off we'll all be. So we're going to try our best -- we just can't promise it will get you through this because, let's face it: It's possible nothing will. Nevertheless, here is what we're hurtling toward:
If the Cubs win the World Series, it would be the first time that has happened since Roosevelt was president. By which we mean Teddy Roosevelt, of course.
That was in 1908. And we can guarantee the Cubs didn't fly to Detroit for that World Series while watching NFL games on their seatback TVs -- seeing as though there was no such thing back then as (A) the NFL, (B) television or (C) an airplane that could even stay in the air that long.
Since that day, depending on how you want to count the always-confusing Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins franchise, either 21 or 22 different teams have won a World Series -- including eight that didn't exist the last time the Cubs won one. The Giants, Dodgers and A's have won the World Series in two different cities. The Braves have won in three.
Then there are the Yankees. Since the last time the Cubs won a World Series, the Yankees have played in (fasten your seat belt now) 40 of them. And won 27. But the Yankees will not be participating this week. So there's that.
Meanwhile, if the Indians win the World Series, it would be the first time that has happened since Harry Truman was president. That was in 1948. For what it's worth, Truman's re-election that year was considered a much bigger upset than the Indians beating the old Boston Braves in the World Series. Coincidentally, neither Truman nor the Indians have won since.
We feel the Indians just don't get enough credit for the enormity of their own little 68-year drought. But think of it this way. The Indians' 68 years without a title would be the longest current championship-free streak in any sport by a team that played all those years in one city -- if it weren't for the slight catch that the team they're playing in this World Series has them beat in the drought race by 40 years.
But that isn't the Indians' fault. Now it is partially their fault that the Marlins have won a World Series since the last time the Indians won one, thanks to a Jose Mesa closer debacle in Game 7 of the 1997 Series. But that will be the last mention of Jose Mesa in this story. We promise.
The point is still that a whole lot has happened in the world since the Indians last won. And we're prepared to document that. We just need to set something straight first. We've noticed that many people seem to have the impression that, compared with 1908, 1948 doesn't seem like that long a time ago. But that's incorrect.
The last time the Indians won, credit cards didn't exist. The only "fast food" was that peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich your grandma slapped together for your mom or dad before school. And while TV did in fact exist, it was only in two colors: black and white. And historians tell us the only way to change the channel was to get your butt up off the couch and turn the dial. Which is, frankly, the ultimate definition of "primitive."
So have we convinced you about that "long time ago" stuff? Excellent. That was important. But now we also need to introduce some impressive sporting perspective to counterbalance that crazy Cubs trivia we spit out earlier.
By 1948, all three of the sports leagues currently operating franchises in Cleveland -- Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA -- were in existence. (Yeah, yeah. So they haven't necessarily operated continuously in Cleveland since 1948, but humor us, OK?) And in those three leagues, 60 different teams have won a championship since the last time the Indians won one. Yep, 60. Which sure is a lot of parades that haven't involved that baseball team from Cleveland.
Ah, but thanks to the most insane coincidence in the history of sports, guess which city the 60th team on that list happens to play in? Uh-huh. That would be Cleveland, where the Cavaliers just happen to be hoisting their championship banner on the same night the World Series opens.
You just can't make this stuff up. So it was incredible to hear Kipnis delivering a sentence Monday that no living human had ever heard before.
"This," he said, "is the center of the sports world Tuesday night."
And for a change, it was impossible to argue. Still, you have to wonder how the baseball gods feel about that. They've been wreaking havoc on both the Cubs and Indians for so long, we just hope they can break that habit for at least one of them over the next week.
Luckily, the men who play for these teams have pretty much had it with the idea that the wrath of those baseball gods has anything to do with them. And you'll be hearing all about that over the next week, too, we'd predict.
Hey, he said to go ask the man, right? So we promptly sprinted faster than Dexter Fowler to ask Bryant what he could tell us about his commercial with that goat.
"Which one?" Bryant deadpanned. "I've done a couple. I did one for Red Bull that was kind of ..."
Before he could get any further, though, he found himself shaking his head. Turns out he's not much of a goat lover. Who knew?
"I don't even know, man," Bryant said. "This whole goat thing -- it's like: What? Who cares? ... No one believes in that. I know I don't. I don't believe in superstition. I try to change up my underwear when I have a good game, so there's no superstition. Sorry. I don't believe in it."
Hey, no apologies necessary, because really, friends, at this point, should anyone? But just to make sure, we asked Bryant to confirm the rumors that never once during that commercial did the goat talk to him about anything that happened to the Cubs in 1945, or 2003 or any other year.
"The goat never said anything," Bryant reported. "It was actually raining that day, so the goat didn't want to be near me. He ran away. So he wouldn't talk to me. I'm no goat whisperer."
Wow. That might be the biggest scoop of the whole World Series: Kris Bryant is no goat whisperer. More coming up on the next SportsCenter. Or not.
What will definitely be coming up on SportsCenter, however, is what shapes up to be a tremendous World Series, between two franchises that have suffered enough to deserve one. Whether that suffering factors into the outcome in any way, though, is something only the baseball gods know for sure.
"If the curses are real," Kipnis joked, "I'm hoping that the stronger curse wins out. And if that's true, I think we won't have to worry. I think it's a serious thing that they wouldn't let that goat in [to Wrigley Field for the 1945 Series]. I don't know how the baseball gods can ever forgive them."
Well, they're about to forgive somebody. Or at least that seems like a safe assumption. But when we're talking about a World Series between (inhale) the Cubs and (exhale) the Indians, can we really be absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure that somebody will win? Boy, we don't know. Would it shock anyone if Game 7 was tied and then went 97 innings -- after which Rob Manfred just took the hint and declared them both co-winners?
"No, somebody should win," Kipnis reassured us. "Unlike that football game [Sunday] night."