The last week has been very special for the Chicago Cubs and their fans, not only did the team finally return to Wrigley Field for the first time since game 5 of the World Series, the champion banners were raised and champion rings were presented.
Monday night, the Cubs home opener, was the banner raising ceremony. Despite a lengthy rain delay the fans hung around to finally see it happen. First the banners for the 1907 and 1908 World Series were raised by Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins, followed by the 2016 NL Pennant by Billy Williams. Then in an emotional display the 2016 World Champion Cubs walked up into the bleachers and together raised the 2016 World Series banner. As the banner raised up the fireworks lit up the sky with the sounds of “The Natural” playing over the speakers. It seemed like time stood still as the unthinkable happened, a World Series banner raising at Wrigley Field.
Strutting their way back to the field to AC/DC’s “If you Want to Rock n’ Roll,” the crowd roared once again as Anthony Rizzo held up the sacred trophy above his head with the team following him. A spectacle that will never be forgotten.
“Just an honor for me, for my family, to be part of the city for the really bad times when the new ownership got here, a lot of emotions. I was fighting back tears a lot.” – Anthony Rizzo talking to ESPN postgame.
The following game after an off-day featured something I thought was even more emotional, the ring ceremony. The 108 diamond rings were presented individually to the owners, management, players and Cub legends Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Ryne Sandberg…but we cannot forget to mention the two rings set aside for Ernie Banks and Ron Santo.
Nominated fans had the honor to present rings to the players. The sights of joy and pure emotion could be seen on everyone’s faces either getting a ring or presenting one. The whole crowd at Wrigley cheered loudly for each ring. For me this was the most emotional part of the 2016 celebration. You got to see each individual player proudly show off their championship honors, and right with passionate fans as well. It was obvious that tears were being choked back during the entire ceremony, even myself felt that way. It makes Wrigley Field feel like something new…while still keeping that same old charm.
And with all that, the 2016 Chicago Cubs greatness comes to an official close. It’s all about 2017 now.