CHICAGO — It was only appropriate that the Chicago Cubs had to wait out a rain delay before they could raise their 2016 World Series banner on Monday night.
After all, it was a rain delay in Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians last season that led to a weight-room, players-only meeting before the Cubs scored two runs en route to an 8-7 win.
There was much less nail biting Monday. The rain delayed only the inevitable, as the Cubs raised not only their 2016 world championship banner but also banners from their previous two wins in 1907 and 1908. They also put up a flag commemorating their 2016 National League pennant.
“The best part of last year is we all got to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” team president Theo Epstein said before the ceremonies. “[We] feel connected to each other and the fans and the organization and the city.”
After the rain stopped, Cubs players and alumni marched out to the bleachers, where four new poles were installed for the banner raising. Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg got to raise the 1907 banner, and pitcher Fergie Jenkins did the honors with 1908. Outfield great Billy Williams pulled the strings on the NL pennant before players from the 2016 team raised the final banner commemorating the World Series win.
“We’re excited to see the fans excited too,” second baseman Ben Zobrist said. “There will be tears of joy, I’m sure.”
When the team returned to the field, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was carrying the World Series trophy, which he handed off to owner Tom Ricketts near second base. Ricketts and his two siblings then threw out ceremonial first pitches.
The Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers waited out the rain and the ceremony, and after a 1:56 delay, the two teams took the field to play — but not before the crowd recognized the reigning champions.
“They say all glory is fleeting, and it is, but the flag will fly forever, and that feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves will last forever too,” Epstein said. “That’s what it symbolizes.”
Cubs players will receive their rings in another pregame ceremony on Wednesday.
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