Tears flowed almost as freely at Wrigley Field Monday night as the rain that tried its hardest to dampen the spirit of the championship ceremony.
Before the Cubs could raise the first World Series banner Wrigley Field has ever seen, the nearly 41,000 fans in attendance had to sit through a rain delay that lasted nearly two hours.
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The weather started out gorgeous — in the low 70s with clouds dotting the Chicago skyline. But right around when first pitch was supposed to take place, the skies opened up and fans were forced to run for cover, which was not ideal for bleacher bums who got there early for first-come, first-serve seats to see where the banners would be raised in the Wrigley outfield.
By the time the pregame fesivities kicked off, it was in the mid-30s with windchill. In other words: classic Chicago weather.
But nothing could dull the sensation of the night — a momentous occasion that saw Cubs legends in attendance like Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins (and of course Eddie Vedder was there, too).
The refrain was the same for nearly all fans: They weren't even worried about trying to get the game in with the rain. They were just anxious to see the banner hoisted, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Cubs did the fans right, first sending up the 1907 and 1908 championship banners and then bringing the Cubs players out into the right field bleachers, parading them through a screaming mob of fans in the newly-minted gold-speckled home jerseys.
The players then helped Williams raise the 2016 National League pennant before the World Series banner went up.
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Among fans in attendance were 11-year-old Cole — who waited his whole life to see the Cubs win it all — and Phil Grinstead — who, a lifetime ago, was No. 16 on the list of season tickets in franchise history with seats that used to be front row down the left field line before the bullpens were moved under the bleachers and an extra few rows of seats added.
Cole and Phil — along with Jovani, Adam, Bob, Jack, Erin, Allison, Jennifer, Rick and others — explain what this championship banner means to them and the emotions running through the fanbase with these flags flying high over Wrigley Field for the rest of eternity.
"They say all glory is fleeting," Cubs president Theo Epstein said, "and it is, but the flag will fly forever."