(GoldSilverBitcoin) Anthony Rizzo is a baseball star. He is possibly the face of Major League Baseball thanks to his role in ending the Chicago Cub’s 108 year drought and role as team star. So, it’s only fitting that on the night the Cubs raised the 2016 World Series Championship banner, Rizzo delivered his first RBI of the season to walk-off against the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Monday night.
Said Rizzo: “I’ll remember this day for as long as I play baseball.”
Before the nailbiter of a game, the banner raising ceremony was delayed for nearly two hours due to inclement weather. The Wrigley Field video scoreboard replayed Game 6-clinching NLCS win over the Dodgers.
As the final out of Game 6 was recorded, it poured. The videoboard showed former Cubs catcher and member of 2016 championship team David Ross take the dance floor for Week 3’s competition on “Dancing with the Stars.”
The Cubs watched from the dugout.
The Cubs sported their gold-trim Cubs jersey, which has become a new baseball trend. The 2014 World Champion Giants, 2015 World Champion Royals and now the 2017 Chicago Cubs all wore gold-trimmed uniforms in their first homestand after a World Series victory.
Ben Zobrist missed out on wearing the Royal’s 2016 gold-trim jersey, though the Kansas City organization did send him one. He underscored the honor of wearing these jerseys and what the championship has done for the City of Chicago.
The “thank yous” are non-stop. “Recently I had a guy cry on my shoulder,” Zobrist said. “An officer from the city here.”
“Everyone needs to realize the significance of it, what it means for the organization and personally as we look back on that jersey,” Zobrist said. “We get to keep a lot of jerseys over the years, but that will be one of my favorites.”
The gold-trim jersey, which feature a gold border around the front logo, a world series commemorative patch on the right arm and a gold number and name on the back, were on sale in the Cub’s official team store for $198.
After the rain delay, the Cubs banner raising ceremony got under way. After 108 years, the former “Loveable Losers” were Champions of the World. All of the Dodgers were bundled up as lineups were announced, except for one: Clayton Kershaw. He wore just his short-sleeved gray jersey, just the same as he wore when he was rocked in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series when the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0.
After the defending World Champion Cubs had lined up one-by-one alongside the third base dugout, they made their way towards the center field brick wall to the roar of the crowd.
Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg raised the banner commemorating the 1907 championship. Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins raised the 1908 banner. Billy Williams raised the 2016 National League Pennant as the crowd awaited the final banner.
Then, the Chicago Cubs raised the 2016 “Champions of the World” banner. The members of the 2016 team pulled on it one-by-one. The banner had to be knocked up against the top of the flagpole a few times to fully unravel blow in the wind.
“I love banner-raising,” Cubs eccentric manager Joe Maddon said before the ceremony. “Rings are wonderful, but I love banner-raising. That’s symbolically there all the time. Every time a kid shows up at the park, he sees that banner.”
The Cubs entered the field through the center field wall. Rizzo, the organization’s longest standing MLB player, held the World Series Trophy high above his head. The Wrigley Field PA played “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC.
“A lot of emotions seeing that video and raising the flag,” Rizzo told press after the game. “The fans deserve that. Ive been a little emotional lately for some reason thinking about all this, when they told me that, emotions ran and what an honor that is. “
Rizzo said that at one point during the night he was “fighting back tears.”
He noted: “I wasn’t expecting to get hit with that many emotions. It was amazing.”
Laura, Todd and Tom Ricketts, whose family own the Chicago Cubs, then threw out three first pitches.
The ESPN broadcast then cut to an interview with Maddon, who discussed the importance of bringing the widow of a mentor of his, as well as former Cubs manager, Don Zimmer. Zimmer’s wife, Soot, was in attendance, Maddon told ESPN viewers, by his request. He told her her late husband would be there – albeit in spirit – and so she should be, too.
The field was ready for the game. On the edge of the bases, gold plates with the World Series Champions logo shone for the camera. For one World Series hero in particular, this was the moment he’d been waiting for.
Kyle Schwarber missed most of the 2016 season – he did not record a hit during the regular season – due to a knee injury. Miraculously, doctors cleared him to be the Designated Hitter in the World Series and he played a key role in his team’s victory.
“I haven’t really got to play at home in a year so it’s really going to be special when I walk out to left and see people in the bleachers,” Schwarber said. “It’s going to be a bit of a family reunion, I guess.”
The temperature sank towards 40 degrees as the game wore on. The crowd, perhaps a bit grumpy after a long day, booed Cubs bullpen pitchers – Carl Edwards, Jr. and Justin Grimm – late in the game when they had trouble finding the strike zone.
Today the celebration continues in Chicago. Kris Bryant made took batting practice mid-day Tuesday – an off-day for the Dodgers and Cubs who resume series on Wednesday – in a Red Bull stunt.
Javier Baez, Cubs second basemen and only Puerto Rican on the 2016 championship squad, will be honored with the street “Javier ‘Javy’ Baez way” in Chicago’s Puerto Rico neighborhood.
The Cubs will wear the gold jerseys one more time, Wednesday, after they receive their Championship rings, which are said to feature 108 diamonds.
“The best part of last year is we all got to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. “[We] feel connected to each other and the fans and the organization and the city.”
Images: USA Today, WBEZ, AP, ABC