Some magical Cubs moments that will last forever
When you cover a team through Game 7 of the World Series, there are too many memories to count.
In no particular order and for no particular reason, here are a few things that stuck with me.
World Series, Game 7:
From the first pitch to the last out, I have never heard such noise or felt the swings of emotion in any ballpark.
With the thousands of Cubs fans and thousands of Indians fans singing and chanting back and forth, I could well have been at a European or South American soccer match than at a World Series game. The decibel level was earsplitting. And there was a spirit of good sportsmanship about it.
When the Indians tied the game in the eighth inning, the look of shocked disbelief on the Cubs fans' faces at Progressive Field was almost too much to bear. With deadline approaching, I was working on three game stories simultaneously: one if the Cubs won, one if the Cubs lost and another with the game going into rain delay as deadline came.
Ben Zobrist's facial expression when he hit the tiebreaking double in the 10th was priceless, as was Anthony Rizzo stuffing the ball from the final out into his back pocket. And let's not forget Albert Almora Jr., a rookie, tagging up on Kris Bryant's flyball in the 10th -- that was as heady a play as you'll see.
A backup shall lead them:
The legend of David Ross morphed organically into something otherworldly.
Every team has a backup catcher. Most are veterans who play once or twice a week and understand their role. When the Cubs signed Ross before the 2015 season, they envisioned him providing some veteran leadership and catching the starts of left-hander Jon Lester.
But Ross turned into a vocal team leader, one who was never afraid to get into a teammate's ear on the rare occasion it was needed.
He became "Grandpa Rossy" this year, his farewell season. In the final home game of the regular season, manager Joe Maddon came out and sent Ross off to a standing ovation.
"It's gone way off script," Ross said of what's happened here. "I think signing here, this was one of my favorite places to play as a visiting player. As a visiting player I loved the city and Wrigley Field. Coming from a place that was a lot of baseball history before I came here (Boston), I loved that. I loved that market. I loved the big market.
"And playing against this group in 2014, I saw how much talent there was. They came into Boston and swept us. And Jake Arrieta almost no-hit us and we were a really good lineup, so I knew that if they signed Jonny they had two number ones. … And so you're like, well, two aces and that kind of lineup, Jon was coming here, comfort, I knew Theo (team president Epstein) from Boston. There's a lot of comfort there."
A couple of kids:
When the season began, relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. and catcher Willson Contreras were at Class AAA Iowa. On the night of June 19 at Wrigley Field, Contreras came up to the plate to make his major-league debut. He promptly hit the first pitch he saw for a home run.
Into November, Edwards and Contreras were playing in Game 7 of the World Series and looking like they belonged there.
Following the final out of Game 7, three writers were allowed inside the Cubs clubhouse for the trophy presentation and the initial popping of the corks: Carrie Muskat of cubs.com, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune and me. Being a lifelong resident of Chicago or the Chicago area and having covered baseball in some way since 1989 and the Cubs every day since 1998, there was no bigger thrill than to witness that kind of history.
• Follow Bruce's Cubs reports on Twitter@BruceMiles2112.