Cubs homecoming foreshadows future success

It’s been five months and eight days exactly since the day that the Chicago Cubs finally broke history. And five months 11 days since the last time someone stepped up to the Wrigley Field batter’s box.

For the first time this season, the Cub’s will come home to their longtime home in Wrigley Field, but not without a little hardware. The Cubs will host their longtime rival and NLCS opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Prestigious pre-game ceremonies followed a rather ironic rain delay to start off the night in Chicago. Each Cub walked the edge of the stadium while gathering around one, very important, flagpole — a pole that has been unused for 108 years.

The flakey gold that outlined their jerseys and filled their numbers reflected the lights gleaming down from overhead. The string was strewn about the mass of players standing there, gleaming at the flagpole. Tears welled in the eyes of onlookers as something that has never happened in the modern era of baseball unfolded before it’s very self.

The dark navy blue flag blended in with the dark North Side sky. It flapped arrogantly in the wind as it withstood its final resting place.

Cheers were outshined by fireworks that shot from behind the new scoreboards. As a team, each player humbly walked back to the dugout, saluting the fans and preparing to do this all again next year. The camera panned across the angry and determined faces of those Los Angeles Dodgers. Knowing very well that it could easily be them in this situation, you could tell easily through a TV screen that they would be back at Wrigley again next fall, maybe with different results.

After a long overdue ceremony of virtue and victory, the Cubs and Jon Lester finally got underway. Lester, through the first few innings, was electric. Just like in the postseason, Lester had all of his stuff under control. He was painting the black with sliders and fastballs, getting nearly every call. Through his first eight batters, he struck out half.

But just to the right of Lester, Alex Wood had just as much, if not more, control. The only difference being it was the Cubs night.

Bats started off slow for the Cubs. A couple baserunners here and there, but no one was able to strike while the iron was hot, but in the Cub’s bottom half of the third, a struggling Kris Bryant was able to muster through some adversity to bring home the first run of the ball game.

Until the sixth, it seemed like it was going to be another early season dominating performance from the Cubs. Even Lester brought a runner in from scoring position, and Lester is known for his lack of batting performance.

Come to the sixth inning, Kris Bryant look-alike and 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Corey Seager pounced on a poorly placed ball around the belt and brought home one run to strike the Cubs confidence.

The exuberant air seemed to be let of out Wrigley Field. It seemed like the tension of the whole playoffs rested on the thin atmosphere at Wrigley. Both bullpens dueled; Carl Edwards, Jr. led the charge, but the Cubs were unable to hold the lead.

Then came the bottom of the ninth. Finishing the night with a W in front of their home crowd was a must. The Cubs needed to capitalize on the excitement that the city was propelling the team with.

One by one each batter went up to the plate. Jon Jay started the inning off by easily reaching first. Tommy La Stella advanced the runner and up came Bryant’s struggling bat.

Four pitches and three strikes later Anthony Rizzo walked up to the box. Visions of World Series Game seven floated through my head. Anthony connected on a pitch up in the zone, sending a soft liner into right field. Rizzo flipped his bat like he had just hit a homer that sailed out of the city.

Not only was that a game to put the Cubs three games over .500 to start the season, but it also showed the city that the Cubs aren’t going anywhere. It showed that just because they are defending World Series champs, doesn’t mean that the heart and wherewithal they used to battle through adversity all last season isn’t gone.

That home opener was important in telling not only the division but the whole league that the Cubs won’t be going through a championship hangover anytime soon.

 

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