By Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
CLEVELAND — Maybe when Addison Russell is 24, or Anthony Rizzo’s nephew is old enough to watch videos, or Kris Bryant gets a gray hair, the young Cubs players will understand what they did this year.
What Russell, Rizzo, Bryant, pitcher Jon Lester and the rest of their teammates did was end a century-plus of heartbreak and give Cubs fans around the world a reason to celebrate. Ben Zobrist smacked a tiebreaking RBI double in the 10th inning and Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez and David Ross homered to power the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night.
For the first time since 1908, the Cubs are World Series champions. Believe it.
“Nothing’s been easy, nothing’s been given to us,” Lester said. “Every series has been a battle and been a grind for us. We played three really good opponents to get here, and here we stand. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a part of this. You wouldn’t expect it any other way.”
The Cubs were the preseason favorites to win it all, and they won 103 games to claim the National League Central. They then ousted the Giants in the NL Division Series and beat the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series to reach the World Series against the Indians, who opened a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. With their win, the Cubs are the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pirates.
The Indians made it tough, erasing a 5-1 lead in Game 7 and tying it on Rajai Davis’ eighth-inning home run. A 17-minute rain delay before the 10th inning saved the day. Outfielder Jason Heyward called the Cubs hitters into the weight room, and general manager Jed Hoyer watched as the players regrouped.
“I think the rain delay was the best thing that ever happened to us, to be honest,” Hoyer said. “We went down to the rain room, talked a little bit. [Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein] and I saw all the hitters were huddled in the weight room during the delay and kind of getting pumped up. I felt great and thought, ‘We were going to win this inning and we’re world champions.’ Maybe after 108 years, you get some divine intervention?”
Heyward tried to downplay what he did, saying he just needed to vent and remind his teammates that they needed one more win. The Cubs’ motto is “We never quit,” something they say after each win. They were chanting that after receiving the trophy as well.
Read more at http://m.cubs.mlb.com/news/article/207938228/chicago-cubs-win-2016-world-series/