God, what a fantastic baseball game.

It wasn’t just because the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years produced this:

It was a great game because the stakes were so high, because there were constant changes in momentum, because two outstanding managers made moves that will be second-guessed for most of the offseason. It’s a game that unites the traditional baseball fan and the baseball analyst. As FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan wrote:

That game was what you’d want it to be. Even if you weren’t rooting for the Cubs, you might never see a better baseball game. Maybe you’ve seen games that were as good, but you couldn’t top that, not for the drama, and not for how very Baseball it was. It was a one-run game that went to extra innings. The winning pitcher was the world-class reliever who blew a three-run lead. The losing pitcher wasn’t even supposed to have to pitch. The Cubs jumped out against the Indians’ unhittable ace, who for the first time was left in too long. The Indians clawed back with a two-run wild pitch that got by a catcher inserted specifically to help the pitcher on the mound. That same catcher, who’s now retired, then hit a home run off one of the only relievers who might be better than the Cubs reliever who later blew the save. Both teams used starters in relief. There was a rain delay and a bunt for a strikeout. The last out of the game was made by Michael Martinez. The final go-ahead run was scored by Albert Almora.

As a longtime reader of FanGraphs and as a longtime foreign policy observer, I came away from watching Game 7 extremely tired with four small lessons that can be applied to the world of statecraft:

1. Don’t panic even though the stakes are so high: Backup Cubs catcher David Ross was miked up for the game, which led to some humorous moments but also this great mentoring conversation between Ross and Cubs All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo:

Ross epitomizes the veteran level head that is needed to keep calm and carry on at the highest level. He was inserted into the game when Jon Lester was brought in, and had a rough defensive half-inning (an errant throw to first and a wild pitch that plated two Indians runs). But the now-retired 39-year old responded with a home run and a walk in his subsequent at-bats. He took his lumps, didn’t panic and helped his team win the game. Ross set a great example for his young, talented and excitable teammates.

2. There can be an ugly side to winning: The Cubs don’t win the World Series without Aroldis Chapman pitching way beyond what was expected of him in Game 5, going to him in the seventh inning to preserve a one-run lead. Sullivan’s FanGraphs piece on how Chapman pulled this off is worth reading for the baseball analysis, but also for this paragraph that he tucked away in the middle of that piece:

Look, let’s be real here — Chapman is complicated. I haven’t, in good conscience, been able to just think about Chapman and watch Chapman without recalling the domestic-violence incident. I’m sorry to bring that up again, but, really, no, I’m not. It happened and it makes the whole Chapman experience something less than it used to be. With that being said, considering only what Chapman did on the field in Game 5 — he has an arm the likes of which I’d never seen before, and the strikeout pitch to Lindor was genuinely perfect. It was perfect. That wasn’t Chapman just chucking gas and assuming hitters wouldn’t catch up no matter where the ball went. In making Lindor go away, Chapman did some real pitching.

That’s the thing about baseball and, to be honest, the thing about foreign policy. There are unsavory sides to both. This doesn’t mean you shrug your shoulders and accept it and move on, exactly. The compromises that have been made on the path to victory have to be acknowledged and assessed and remembered. The Cubs deserve their moment of joy. But when this season and World Series are written up, Chapman’s past needs to be noted as well.

3. There are limits to the gains from tactical wizardry. The starkest contrast this postseason was between Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona. In the wild-card game, Showalter did not use this season’s best reliever in an extra inning game. In the first game of the Indians’ Division Series against the Red Sox, Francona went to his best reliever, Andrew Miller, in the fifth inning to squelch a rally. The Orioles lost their one playoff game and were eliminated; Francona guided his team to Game 7 of the World Series.

Francona’s gambit changed how postseason managers deployed their best relievers. Rather than the traditional one-inning usage at the end of the game, Francona, Joe Maddon and others showed a willingness to use their best relievers much earlier in the game during high-leverage moments.

What Game 7 showed was the long-term limits of that strategy. None of the lockdown relievers locked down anything last night. Miller gave up two runs in two and a third innings. Chapman was the winning pitcher, but only after he gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Brian Shaw gave up two runs in his inning. The Cubs closed it out with two of their better secondary relievers, one of whom coughed up a run as well.

By this game, both teams’ best relief weapons had been stretched to the breaking point. Indeed, Maddon’s use of Chapman in Game 6 — which looked well in hand for the Cubs — might have contributed to his pitching woes Wednesday night. Francona was slow to remove Indians’ starter Corey Kluber, perhaps because he knew that his bullpen was a bit gassed out.

In baseball and in statecraft, resources can be stretched in the short-run. But there is also a long run that eventually requires a reckoning. Woe to those who forget that fact.

4. Just because something is the status quo doesn’t mean it can’t change. The Red Sox will choke against the New York Yankees — until they don’t. The Chicago White Sox won’t have a championship-caliber team — until they do. The Chicago Cubs are supposed to be baseball’s lovable, cursed losers — until they win.

The past needs to be recognized. But it is an imperfect guide for the future.