Powell: A Near Perfect Opening Night at Wrigley
By Kevin Powell
It feels as if the Cubs have produced nothing but goosebump-inducing moments over the past six months or so. Their banner raising ceremony Monday night at a damp and cool Wrigley Field was no different. An electric, amped up crowd. Emotional video displays. A rain delay that allowed the Wrigley crowd to soak in David Ross’ Dancing with the Stars performance. Fireworks.
And the exclamation point, a walkoff single from their star first baseman.
“I’ll remember this day for as long as I play baseball,” Anthony Rizzo said after driving in the winning run against the Dodgers. “The walkoff caps it off, but that pregame ceremony, I really honestly didn’t think it would be that.”
The ceremony was another unforgettable moment at Wrigley. Team legends Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams raised three of the four banners before current players made their way from the field to the centerfield scoreboard to raise the 2016 World Series Championship flag.
“It was awesome,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It was really well done. It’s just a really special night for all of us.”
Other than a two hour rain delay, it was another near perfect night on the North Side. And the celebration isn’t over with the championship ring ceremony scheduled for Wednesday night.
“I don’t know how it could top (Monday night),” Rizzo added. “We’re really looking forward to that. For me, to give it to my dad and show him and knowing how happy he’ll be…..it’ll be another special night.”
Special. Emotional. Unforgettable. Those are words you hear around Wrigley and the Cubs clubhouse these days. As one Cubs fan noted while soaking in the new plaza along Clark before the home opener: “Everything feels different.”
Indeed, everything feels different. The Loveable Losers are now the mark of excellence throughout baseball.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720