Chicago Cubs World Series Parade
Friday November 4, 2016
My Cubs fandom goes back to 1978. The cubs that were the big guys back than were Bill Buckner and Dave Kingman. Going to see the Cubs celebration
in Grant Park (Hutchinson Field, actually) was amazing. Typically, November 4th in Chicago can be rather cold, but this day seemed more like May 4th
instead. Lots of sun and beautiful weather (it may be the first sun burn I've ever gotten in November, but well worth it). There was rain from the
night before so there were a lot of muddy shoes on this day, but that didn't bother anyone. It was also a great way to see all of the different
Cubs championship gear with so many Cubs fans all over the place.
The local officials did a great job having large screen tv's showing the coverage of the Cubs getting on the bus at Wrigley Field and their travel
from Wrigley Field to Lake Shore Drive and into Hutchinson Field. We were able to see the buses (I believe it was 43 busses used to transport the
players, coaches and team manaagement) traveling Michigan Avenue into Hutchinson Field. When we knew the team entered the area, the crowd went wild.
The speeches were nearly perfect. Long time Cubs announcer Pat Hughes came on the emcee the event and the order went from management including owner,
Tom Ricketts and business executive Crane Kenney. It was than time for the baseball operations to begin to speak.
Theo Epstein speech:
Theo Epstein came to the Cubs as President of baseball operations in 2011 after the end of the season and has been the man to systematically build
the team that has now ended their 108 year old World Series drought. Previously, as the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, he was able to end
their 81 year old World Series drought. This alone puts Theo in a category unto himself. I can't think of another executive in all of sports that
has matched any such feat. Luckily, the Cubs have re-signed Theo to run the team for another 5 years so the chances of continued postseason success
is very likely. His speech was great, thanking the fans, his team of executives that worked so hard to build this team and the players and coaches.
Theo, like others that gave speeches, got a little choked up at moments showing how much this means to him that the team was able to win a World
Series for Cubs fans. He had a great line about how the short rain delay late in Gamy 7 was brought to us from Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. 2 great
Cubs that passed away before The Cubs World Series victory. I was wearing my number 14 pin on my hat that day to honor Ernie Banks.
His story about Jason Heyward's locker room speech during the 17 minute rain delay was great. He walked by the weight room where the players were
arm in arm during the speech and he knew at that moment that the team was going to win the game. It's a good thing that the team scored in the top
of the 10th inning to win it because the rains did come down heavy soon after the victory so the possibility of this game being finished the following
day was a high likelihood. We can only speculate what may have happened in that case.
The Cubs players that spoke at the event were Dexter Fowler, Jon Lester, Miguel Montero, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist & David Ross.
Fowler mentioned a tag phrase that Cubs manager, Joe Maddon gave him called "YOu Go We Go". Fowler is the leadoff hitter for the team and the stats do reflect
that when Fowler is playing well, the Cubs win more than when he doesn't. Fowler is a free agent and his comment of "Well, I'm going" may be a signal
that he's accomplished his goal with the Cubs and will be moving on to another team. If that's the case, his 2 years with the team were very exciting
and he contributed significantly to the teams success.
Jon Lester, a cancer survivor and big free agent signee that Theo Epstein brought to the Cubs last year is a man of few words and he seemed to speak
mainly to say some kind words about his personal catcher, Dave Ross. Lester & Ross worked together both while with the Boston Red Sox and the Cubs.
Game 7 was Ross final major league game and has been an emotional leader to the team all year.
Miguel Montero is also a man of few words with his speech pretty much being "We Are Good". If you enjoy following the Cubs on Twitter, Montero is
a great follow. Very funny!!
Kyle Schwarber's speech was also very short, he gave credit to the team getting to the World Series since he played only a few regular season
games and was injured very early on, but was able to rehab in time to join the team and make a significant contribution in the World Series,
even just being limited to playing designated hitter in the 4 games played in Cleveland.
World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist had a great speech. He discussed winning the World Series for a 2nd straight year (Zobrist was a Kansas City Royals
player in 2015 when the Royals won an exciting World Series). His comments about how David Ross picked up the team when the Cubs were losing the
Series 3 games to 1 was outstanding. Zobrist was born in the local area so he also mentioned how he was hoping the Cubs would make him an offseason
offer to come play to try to bring a World Series trophy to the Cubs. He was holding that trophy in his hand during the speech.
And saving the best for last, Anthony rizzo and David Ross closed out the celebration with great speeches as well. Others showed emotion during
their speeches, but only choked up a little. Rizzo was visibly crying when he was discussing the impact that David Ross had on this team and to
himself personally. Rizzo was also the man that put the ball from the final out in his back pocket to preserve after the on field celebration.
He said the ball was estimated to be going for $3 million and he held it up and gave it to owner, Tom Ricketts. Rizzo also had a nice moment when
he said that he was so embedded in Cubs culture that this victory was for every player that had played for the team in the past with former Cubs
greats, Billy Williams & Ryne Sandberg on stage with the team. And he introduced David Ross. Without a doubt, the most popular backup catcher
in the entire MLB, perhaps in all of MLB history.
Ross will turn 40 years old on March 19, 2017 and World Series game 7 was his final game as he has announced his retirement. Luckily, it has
been widely reported that he will be interested in coaching. Joe Maddon let him be near him in the dugout all year to see the inner workings of
what a manager does during an MLB game. I truly hope he stays with the team in some capacity, but we will have to wait and see what happens in
the offseason. ONto his speech, even though he was quite the team leader, he is really a man of few words, but some are comical. He gets up on
stage and screams "look what the boys got me!!!!!" while he holds up the World Series trophy. On the field, David Ross hit his 108th career home
run in the NLDS against the Giants. I guess 108 years of no World Series matching to home runs was not the way to go out so Ross hit his 109th in
the 7th game of the World Series to help the team to victory and pass the number 108, a number that will now die for the Cubs as their World Series
drought ends but will remain a part of the team's history forever. this Cubs team has many players under the age of 30 so the chances of this team
winning another World Series in the coming years is highly probably. It appears the history of this team is about to change very quickly. 5 million
people showed up downtown to celebrate this achievement. The city of chicago loves their Cubs, win or lose, but it's a lot funner when they win.
Walking out of the park to Queen's "We are the Champions" will likely be the feeling I will remember many, many years from now. 5 millions Cubs fans
wearing Cubs jersey's, shirts and hats everywhere on a beautiful november day in a great city. The Cubs are champions. I've waited 38 years to say
that and it feels great!!
The ride back was rather chaotic. There were people lined up outside of the train terminal so just trying to navigate around to find which track
to be on was a challenge. I did spend around 2 hours at the station waiting for a train. My conclusion for next time since I'm an optimistic Cubs fan
that is expecting more World Series celebrations, is to spend more time downtown to enjoy the city since getting on a train soon after the rally ends is
rather slim odds since the trains can only fit so many people on it. The other option, find a spot on the parade route near to the station. You'll miss
the speeches live, but there are videos to view later (see below). I was talking to someone else that attended the rally who indicated they were able
to get on 1PM trains so it is possible. A friend that I went with parked at the Blue line and took it downtown. That seemed to work out well also.
Rizzo at parade
Fans at parade and speeches
Rizzo gives ball to Tom Ricketts
Brett Eldredge sings Go Cubs Go
MLB Tonight discusses Cubs Parade
Theo Epstein speech
Dexter Fowler speech
Cubs fans discuss parade
Aerial views of Wrigleyville