Last night was something Chicago Cubs fans waited 108 years for; what was another two hours?
When images of the newly installed flag poles came around, I had an idea of what to expect. One would fly the flags for the years they made the playoffs, one for flags they won their division, one for when they won the pennant, and the final would be for their World Series Championship flags.
I was partially right.
Last night the Cubs unveiled four new flags, one each for the new flag poles. Championship banners celebrating all three World Series titles (1907, 1908 and 2016) and the final flag pole flew the 2016 pennant.
Over the years I have attended several memorable moments. Opening Day, playoff clinchers, no hitters, playoff games and a World Series game. Last night, however, might have been my favorite game I have ever attended. I was not fortunate enough to have tickets for the pennant clincher or World Series clincher, so there is no real contest.
The emotions were running high hours before the gates opened, with the debut of the “Park at Wrigley” and all the pomp and circumstances surrounding the event.
Then the gates opened and the concourse was flooded with a sea of humanity I am not sure I have seen before, even counting the World Series Game I attended. From what I could tell though, there was little shoving and pushing to get through the mass crowds.
I tried getting around the park to get a closer look at the new additions, but the crowd did not make that goal all too easy. Everyone wanted to take a look around and soak everything in. I loved being a part of that crowd last night, even though leaving your seat was a lengthy journey.
We were all waiting with great anticipation for the banner raising ceremony, and were all counting the minutes.
Then came six o’clock and we were informed the pregame ceremony would be in a rain delay. The delay lasted for around an hour before the rain actually started to fall. The storm lasted about 30 minutes, then another 30 getting the field ready.
Finally 8:10 had arrived and the ceremony had begun! I do not know how things came across at home, but you could feel the excitement at the stadium. When the crowds were introduced to the 2017 Cubs, the sounds were deafening. Chants of MVP broke out for both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. After everyone had been introduced the entire team walked out to and disappeared into the bleachers.
Then came the actual banner raising. Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Rizzo raised the four flags much to the delight of the Wrigley faithful, and then the video boards shot off fireworks in celebration.
There was not a dry eye in the house.
Last night was amazing, capped off with a Rizzo walk off single for a win on opening night. The Cubs had given their fans everything they wanted last night. A vastly improved Wrigley Field, a remarkable banner raising ceremony and a win.
Even though the game went into the wee hours of this morning, the home opener was a night that will not be forgotten any time soon. Onward to bigger and better things, but we will always have Monday night.
Unforgettable moments. pic.twitter.com/UPhFk41t61
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 11, 2017