I remember my first time at Wrigley Field. I remember seeing that Ivy hanging off the outfield wall, that humongous green scoreboard in center field, and seeing all the people hug each other and smile. I remember looking at the biggest man I had ever seen run right in front of me and seeing “McGriff” written across his back as he ran by. It was the best atmosphere and the best sight my eyes had ever seen.
Of all the magical things about Wrigley, the thing that got me most were the flags. I loved the flags. You have the names of all the National League teams flying from the big green scoreboard in center. Then there’s the flags flying at the top of the pole that say “Banks” and “Williams” and “Santo” and “Maddux”. And then at the very top of the scoreboard in center, there’s that big white and blue one. The simplest flag of them all. The one that just says, “W”.
It’s time for a new flag to come to Wrigley Field. One with the numbers 2,0,1, and 6 stamped on it. One that’s going to symbolize the 2016 Champions of the World. 108 long years later, the Chicago Cubs are finally crowned King. It’s a feeling each and every one of us will cherish for the rest of our lives. I know that each one of you said, “God, I wish he or she would’ve been here to see it” at some point last night; I know I did. What a year, what a ride, and what a journey.
Here’s a timeline of major events from this past season. If I missed your favorite memory, I apologize. I tried to hit some of the bigger events and games that made you realize how special this team was. So while you’re still riding this emotional wave, take a step backward and look at some of the best moments of 2016. Remember folks, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
October 21st, 2015: The Chicago Cubs lose game 4 of the NLCS by a score of 8-3 as the Mets complete the four game sweep. The New York Mets go on to represent the National League in the 2015 World Series.
December 4th, 2015: The Cubs announce the signing of veteran right handed pitcher John Lackey. Lackey signs on for 2 years on a deal worth up to 32 million dollars. This cowboy didn’t come here for a haircut, he came for the jewelry.
December 15th, 2015: The Cubs announce the signing of Gold Glove right fielder Jason Heyward. The 29 year old signed an 8 year contract worth 184 million dollars.
*Me on December 15th*
*Me on November 3rd*
December 9th, 2015: Starlin Castro is traded to the New York Yankees along with pitcher Adam Warren. The Cubs also sign future World Series MVP Ben Zobrist to a 4 year, 56 million dollar contract.
February 19th, 2016: Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training
February 25th, 2016: After reportedly agreeing to a 3 year, 33 million dollar deal with the Baltimore Orioles, Dexter Fowler surprises the team at Spring Training after signing a one year, 13 million dollar deal.
April 8th, 2016: In a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cubs phenom Kyle Schwarber tears both his ACL and LCL. Doctors rule him out for returning during the 2016 season.
April 21st, 2016: Reigning NL Cy Young Winner throws the only no hitter of the 2016 MLB season against the Cincinnati Reds.
May 5th-May 8, 2016: The Cubs win four straight games against the Washington Nationals capped off by a Javy Baez solo home run in the bottom of the 13th inning.
June 20th, 2016: After being called up to help the Cubs out defensively, Wrigley Field gets introduced to catcher Willson Contreras for the first time. Contreras hits a 415 foot home run on the first big league pitch he sees.
June 27th, 2016: Kris Bryant hits three home runs in one game against the Cincinnati Reds. Bryant also doubles twice, becoming the first Cub in history to have five extra base hits in one game.
June 28th, 2016: The night after Bryant’s big night, the Cubs win in 15 innings against the Reds. Travis Wood, Spencer Patton, and Pedro Strop, switch between pitching and playing left field in extras. One of the most memorable games of 2016.
July 12th, 2016: MLB All Star Game takes place in San Diego, California. For the first time since 1963, the entire starting infield all comes from the same team. Take a guess who those guys might be.
July 31st, 2016: The Cubs come back from down 6-0 on Sunday Night Baseball to beat the Seattle Mariners 7-6 on a Jon Lester walk off bunt in the bottom of the 12th inning.
July 21st-August 12th, 2016: The Cubs beat the Cardinals 13-2 and win their 11th straight game, making it the franchise’s longest winning streak in 15 years.
August 26th, 2016: Kris Bryant hits a home run in the eighth, and a two run home run in the 10th inning to help the Cubs come from behind and win at Dodger Stadium. For the first time all season, Bryant receives “MVP” chants from the crowd.
September 12th, 2016: Kyle Hendricks pitches eight no hit innings against the Cardinals before giving up a solo shot to Jeremy Hazelbaker. Hendricks adds an unbelievable performance to his Cy Young resume.
September 16th, 2016: The Chicago Cubs win the NL Central on a walk off home run from catcher Miguel Montero, beating the Brewers by a score off 5-4. The team wins its first Division title since 2008.
October 7th, 2016: The Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS 1-0 behind a Javy Baez solo home run. Let the postseason run begin.
October 10th, 2016: The Giants beat the Cubs 6-5 in 13 innings to stay alive. I don’t want to talk about this game, but I had to mention it. If you were dumb and stayed up until 3 AM like me, this was a top 10 worst night of your life. Conor Gillaspie is a bastard.
October 11th, 2016: The Cubs come back from a 3 run deficit in the ninth inning to advance to the NLCS in one of the best comebacks in postseason history. Where are you now, Derek?
October 18th, 2016: The Cubs get shut out for the second straight game and fall down 2-1 in the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The sky began to fall and the wheels started to come off. Hello darkness, my old friend.
October 22nd, 2016: Clayton Kershaw takes the mound down in a must win game at Wrigley Field. *4 hours later*
The Chicago Cubs have won the 2016 NLCS and will face the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.
October 25th, 2016: Pray for Cleveland
October 29th, 2016: The Cleveland Indians take a 3-1 series lead over the Cubs after winning game 4 by a score of 7-2. The sky begins to fall, again. The wheels begin to come off, again. Hello darkness, my old friend.
November 2nd, 2016: The Chicago Cubs win Game 7 of the World Series by a score of 8-7 in extra innings. The 108 year drought is officially over, and the Chicago Cubs are Champions of the World.
What a year, what a season, and what a team. We knew that these were the guys for the job, and they did it in the most unimaginable way possible. God Bless Theo Nathaniel Epstein, God Bless the greatest city in the world, and God Bless the Chicago Cubs.
Fly it high folks, fly it high.