It took 108 years, 159 days, and a 1-hour, 56-minute rain delay, but the Chicago Cubs, at last, were able to step onto Wrigley Field on Monday evening as defending World Series champions.
Then, as if they didn’t want the glorious celebration to ever end, they didn’t leave the field until 1:47 ET Tuesday morning, eventually outlasting the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Anthony Rizzo’s walk-off single in their first home season-opener against the Dodgers since 1963.
It was a long, cold, dreary day for their loyal legion of fans, who actually started hitting the Wrigleyville bars in the late morning nearly 13 hours earlier. They poured themselves through the Wrigley gates at 5 p.m. CT, anxiously awaiting the pageantry they’ve envisioned for a lifetime.
Naturally, it was delayed by rain, resurrecting memories of the 19-minute rain delay in Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians, and everyone in Chicago can tell you how that delay turned out.
Still, the sellout crowd didn’t seem to mind. They were entertained during the delay with a replay of their pennant-clinching victory last October over the Dodgers, and then by a live performance of retired Cubs’ catcher David Ross on Dancing with the Stars.
Then, just after the traditional opening-night pageantry, and completion of the national anthem, you wondered if someone forgot about the World Series flag.
The team huddled in the dugout, and then slowly walked across the field, through the outfield, under the grandstands, up the backstairs, to the outfield bleachers, and to the new flag poles.
Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg started it by hoisting the 1907 World Series flag, followed by Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins with the 1908 flag, and Billy Williams raising the 2016 National League championship flag.