Since a Cactus League-style rematch with the Cleveland Indians looms Sunday in their second spring training game, we asked Cubs players to share the one lasting memory they have from their 2016 World Series run. Here's what stands out most to the ...and more »
8:00 AM ETprintcommentMESA, Ariz. -- Since a Cactus League-style rematch with the Cleveland Indians looms Sunday in their second spring training game, we asked Cubs players to share the one lasting memory they have from their 2016 World Series run. Here's what stands out most to the Cubs who ended 108 years of North Side heartbreak.The doubleDavid J. Phillip/AP PhotoBen Zobrist: "Looking over at [Anthony] Rizzo [on third base] when I was on second base [in the top of the 10th], and seeing him with his hands on top of his head and an unbelievable kind of look on his face [after Zobrist's double gave the Cubs a 7-6 lead]. It encompassed how I felt, how we all felt. I've seen it 1,000 times from different angles, but I'm the one with that perspective of Rizzo, and got to look him in the eyes. We thought we had it, it was slipping out of our grasp, then we had it again. We kind of knew we had the rest of the game."Willson Contreras: "When Zobrist hit the double [in the top of the 10th inning]. That was the moment in the game I'll keep with me my whole life. When that happens, I came to life again -- so did the dugout. But for me, until then I was kind of sad, waiting for something to happen. I can still picture that dugout exploding."The rain-delay meetingElsa/Getty ImagesDown 3 games to 1, what's the formula for World Series resurrection? A bromance, resilience on offense and blowing up the closer role all helped deliver an outcome for the ages.From Chicago to Cleveland, anxiety levels skyrocketed during Game 7 of the World Series as two hard-luck franchises, the Cubs and Indians, looked to end the longest championship droughts in the majors.Move over, Mazeroski, Morris and MadBum. The Cubs are World Series champs, and it took the most epic Game 7 imaginable to get them there.2 RelatedMunenori Kawasaki: "The last game. Raining outside and all of us meeting inside. J-Hey [Jason Heyward] talking, Kris [Bryant] talking, Anthony [Rizzo] talking. I knew 100 percent we were going to win. We came together. We were together. J-Hey was talking. Chappy [Aroldis Chapman] crying [after giving up a game-tying homer in the bottom of the eighth]. I don't understand English, but I knew 100 percent we were going to win."Kyle Schwarber: "That meeting that we had. I still feel like that was the key component to how we came out of that rain delay and performed. I can picture the room. I was standing by the door, and J-Hey was all the way in the back and addressing everyone."Pedro Strop: "Chappy was crying after everything happened, so during the delay I went to his locker. He was like, 'Everything is done, finished.' I was like, 'Bro, you're human. Things happen. I know it's a moment you want to do the best for us and the team, but just relax. We're going to come back and win this game, and everyone is going to be happy.'"The Game 7 dramaGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesRob Zastryzny: "When David Ross hit that home run. It was the first time someone hit a HR like that and the dugout didn't immediately go crazy. At least that's how I remember it. It was like a delayed, 'Did that just happen?' I kind of took a step back and was like: That was a home run, that was David Ross, that was Andrew Miller, this is Game 7 and it's [Ross'] last game. ... That's the image for me when I lie down and go to sleep. It's David Ross hitting a home run in his last game."Albert Almora: "When Addison [Russell] hit that sacrifice fly in Game 7, KB [Bryant] scores and it's a bang-bang play. As I walk towards the plate and Addison is walking towards me, we kind of stopped and looked at the replay and then saw for sure he was safe and screamed and gave each other a hug. We actually talked about it during the game. We were like, 'I'm never going to forget that moment.' Go ask Addy -- he'll remember it."Addison Russell: "I remember coming back to the dugout and seeing Almora and his eyes so big and my eyes so big: 'Yeah!' We yelled and we hugged each other. It gives me tingles through my body just talking about it. It's one of my favorite World Series moments right there."Miguel Montero: "Walking off after the third out in the ninth inning to keep it tied. I became really confident because the most difficult part was catching Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth inning [Montero was catching]. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy three outs after what happened in the eighth. ... But after we got through that ninth, I was confident because we had Schwarber coming up. Rain delay or not, we still had Schwarber up."The final outKen Blaze/USA TODAY SportsMike Montgomery: "Right before I went in [in relief in the bottom of the 10th], I kind of took a quick glance at all the other guys in the bullpen. They gave me a look of lasting encouragement: You got this. You can do this. That gave me the feeling of, 'I gotta do this so I don't let them down.' That sticks with me even more than pitching. That's our team. We were all rooting for each other. Every time anyone went out on the mound, we were so much rooting that guy on. I knew everyone in that bullpen was ready to celebrate, and running out there I got that calm feeling because of that."Russell: "I think about the final out as well. Us jumping up and down on the mound. I think of all the faces. Just everyone smiling, laughing. The hugs. Just the companionship between all these guys in the clubhouse. That's another thing I take from it."The celebrationAndrew Hancock for ESPNJake Arrieta: "Remember, it began to rain heavily after the game, and all our friends and family are running from the field and dugout to the tunnel still embracing each other. Everyone was sopping wet. I was hugging people I didn't know. People's friends, uncles. It was just a really cool moment. My kids, my family, everyone was there. We were there as one big family in the confines of a tiny hallway. We were overly emotional and kind of shocked over what just happened. It was such a neat experience."Kyle Hendricks: "The whole situation after the game ended. I think about that a lot. It started raining and we went down between the dugout and the weight room. It was all family, staff guys, front-office people and everyone hanging out. It was really special to have a small area and just party and hug everyone. It was a special moment to soak it in and really realize it. Lots of tears of joy and so many emotions. I had the biggest smile on my face no matter who I ran into. The range of emotions was pretty overwhelming."Jon Lester: "Just the celebration on the field. Running on the field. Hugging everyone. Just going crazy."Carl Edwards Jr.: "I was more nervous facing Joey Votto in an extra-inning game then I was in Game 7, so coming into the World Series isn't my lasting image. It's just me waving the W flag around ... running around afterwards with the W flag."The processBrad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty ImagesKris Bryant: "When you play a Game 7, you kind of forget everything that happens in Games 1-6, but a personal one for me is hitting that home run in Game 5 off of Trevor Bauer. That got me out of a little funk because I was still trying to figure out their pitching staff. Then the hits came in Game 6, but I took a deep breath after that. It all played into what we did in Game 7."Justin Grimm: "Well, there are the team memories, but a personal one was getting that double-play ball in Game 3 against Francisco Lindor. That image stands out. It was a scoreless game and I just remember being so pumped. ... It fired everyone up, including me."Anthony Rizzo: "Honestly, the whole grind. The whole thing. The image I think of is the guys. Everything that went on in the clubhouse and off the field with the guys. The dinners, the bus rides, everything. Teams win and not all the guys are together. We were all together. That's the biggest thing. From Day 1 of spring training, I picture the whole thing. The slumps, the All-Star Game, the jokes. Those are the images for me, and that's what we'll all talk about, not just the final out."
MLB,Chicago Cubs,Ben Zobrist,Kris Bryant,Anthony Rizzo