Cubs raise World Series flag, strut with trophy in pregame ceremony

The Chicago Cubs first appearance back at Wrigley Field since they won the World Series went exactly as you would expect. After not winning a championship for 108 years, the team and their fans were due for some excessive celebrating.

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Anyone watching could tell things were different almost immediately. As the Cubs were introduced during pregame ceremonies, they came out on the field wearing uniforms with gold lettering and caps with a World Series trophy logo on the side.

With the starters lined up on the field, Julianna Zobrist, wife of second baseman Ben Zobrist, sang “God Bless America” in front of the packed house. After that, every member of the 2016 championship team started walking out toward the outfield bleachers to begin the flag raising ceremony.

The Cubs celebrating their World Series win in front of the home fans Monday. (AP Photo)
The Cubs celebrating their World Series win in front of the home fans Monday. (AP Photo)

The team brought out three Cubs legends to raise the new banners. First, Ryne Sandberg was called upon to hoist the 1907 World Series champs flag. He was followed up by Fergie Jenkins, who was responsible for the 1908 World Series banner.

With that out of the way, the team moved fast-forwarded to 2016. Billy Williams was called upon during the 2016 National League Champs flag.

With only one flag left to be raised, the team let first baseman Anthony Rizzo do the honors. He raised the 2016 World Series champs flag to roaring cheers from the crowd.

Somehow, that wasn’t the coolest thing Rizzo got to do Monday. Following the flag ceremony, he led the Cubs from the outfield to the pitcher’s mound while carrying the World Series trophy in his arms.

We have to admit, that’s a new tradition we can get behind. If you win the World Series, you should be allowed to strut from the outfield to the pitcher’s mound before your team’s home opener with the trophy hoisted high like a wrestler waltzing to the ring with a championship belt. That only seems fair.

Rizzo handed the trophy to owner Tom Ricketts. He, along with his sister Laura and brother Todd, all threw out first pitches before the game.

With all that out of the way, the contest could actually begin. For the first time in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs played a game at Wrigley Field as the defending world champs.

That title defense got off to quite the start in front of the home fans. With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, Rizzo (who else?) hit a walk-off single to give the Cubs the dramatic 3-2 win. Looks like Rizzo carried over all that swagger from the pregame ceremonies.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik