Quotes of the day: What the Cubs told their adoring fans
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Even as the Cubs hoisted the World Series title trophy in Grant Park Friday afternoon, the drama and history that unfolded this week still seemed to be sinking in – both for them and the fans who’d shown up to celebrate with them.
The players savored the moment and vowed to try a repeat next year.
“It happened, baby,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, looking out on the sea of people in Cubs attire. “It happened.”
After breaking the team’s championship drought with a 103-win regular season, thrilling playoff run and come-from-behind World Series triumph, the Cubs were alternately giddy, stunned and emotional as they thanked and celebrated with their faithful.
Rizzo was in tears as he talked about the bonds formed with his teammates and the fans as the Cubs went from bottom-feeders – losing 101 games in 2012, his first year with the team – to the heights of this season.
“I was here during the bad times and I got so much of the culture of the Chicago Cubs,” Rizzo said. “Every person that has worn this jersey won the World Series with us the other day.”
David Ross, a clubhouse leader who plans to retire, was also choked up. “Chicago, look at what the boys got me,” he said, holding up the World Series trophy.
“Wait, wait,” he said. “How about a quick selfie? Everybody’s hands up!”
Once the shot was taken, Ross thanked the fans again. “Love you, Chicago.”
Starting pitcher Jon Lester had his own way of describing the moment. “Look at this s—!” he said, then quickly added: “Sorry, kids.”
Team chairman and co-owner Tom Ricketts told the crowd that over the last several years, countless people have approached him and wondered if the Cubs would win a Series before they die.
“For the thousands of people who’ve said that to me: There you go,” he said to cheers. “How long has it been since the Cubs have won the World Series? The answer is zero years.”
Theo Epstein — the architect of the championship team — reflected on the team’s years of losing, including the dismal 2012 campaign when the rebuilding process was just underway.
“Let’s be honest — for awhile there, we forgot the ‘not’ in ‘Try not to suck,’” Epstein said, referring to the team’s unofficial motto, coined last year by manager Joe Maddon.
Epstein said the patience and support of the fans had made the difference. “You guys are what really carried our guys through all of October. . . The players felt it and dug deep for you.”
“I love you guys,” confirmed slugger Kyle Schwarber, who missed most of the regular season with a knee injury before returning to star in the playoffs. “Let’s do it again next year!”
Giddy fans didn’t want the day to end.
“It’s a dream I’ll never wake up from,” said Sam Martino, 20, of St. Charles. “The best part of it is being here in person.”