Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ortiz: Young Cubs Set for New Era of Winning

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ortiz: Young Cubs Set for New Era of Winning

Article excerpt

CLEVELAND * While Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and the rest of their Cubs teammates showered each other with champagne early Thursday morning, comedian Bill Murray cheerfully dabbed at his eyes while coping with the sweetest burn in professional sports.

Murray, a lifelong Cubs fan, had just been splashed in the face with champagne by the architect of the team that ended the longest and most iconic championship drought in American sports.

Then, in the middle of Progressive Field's raucous visitors' clubhouse, Murray and Cubs president Theo Epstein threw their heads back, lifted the champagne bottles they had used on each other and took long, fulfilling chugs.

It was a brave, wild and new world for the Cubs and their fans after they beat the Indians 8-7 late Wednesday night in a dramatic Game 7 to claim their first title since 1908.

"It means a huge weight has been lifted," Murray said. "All this effort into wishing and hoping that it would work, that they would win and now it's come true. It's wonderful. It's fantastic.

"You believe in something that actually was true and it was beautiful. You believe in something that was true and beautiful and the whole city and all its fans are just, they are sort of validated. Their dream came true. It's OK. Dreams come true and people believed in it."

Murray, 66, grew up a diehard Cubs fan in the suburbs of Chicago.

He was such a devoted and consistent presence at the Friendly Confines, he was invited to sing "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" for Game 3 last Friday night during the seventh-inning stretch of the first World Series game at Wrigley Field since 1945.

He learned to love the Cubs as a child because they were his hometown team, his guys, whether they won or lost in heartbreaking fashion.

Generations of Cubs fans like Murray were defined by their willingness to remain loyal despite long periods of losing and major letdowns such as the memorable 1969, 1984 and 2003 collapses.

Cubs fans handled defeat so gracefully, usually with a round of beer, their team had become known as "Lovable Losers."

That was the legacy left behind by the late Mr. Cub Ernie Banks and fellow Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg and Ron Santo. The 2016 Cubs are building a new tradition as winners. That will be the test for the Cubs and their fans because Epstein has put together a roster of young stars who definitely could be baseball's next dynasty.

Five of the Cubs' nine starters in Game 7 were 24 or younger, led by NL MVP favorite Bryant (24), Kyle Schwarber (23), NLCS co-MVP Javier Baez (23), Willson Contreras (24), and shortstop Addison Russell (22).

"I'm excited to see where this club goes next year," said Russell, who tied a World Series single-game record while setting a new franchise Fall Classic mark with six RBIs in Game 6. "It's definitely my dream to imagine the Chicago Cubs winning more titles. …

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