CHICAGO – For 108 years, we all suspected it would be a cold day … somewhere when the Chicago Cubs played a home game as defending World Series champions.
The Cubs celebrated last year’s historic title before Monday’s home opener at Wrigley Field with a ceremony that featured a familiar theme for Cubs fans – deferred gratification. Rain storms passing through the area delayed the start of the championship banner-raising festivities by nearly two hours, giving the home team ample time to play a condensed version of their NLCS Game 6 victory over the Dodgers on the scoreboard video screen and a plea to vote for former Cub catcher David Ross on “Dancing with the Stars.”
By the time the game started just after 9 p.m. locally, the temperature had dropped to 41 degrees with a wind chill of 36. It was the second consecutive day of challenging weather for the Dodgers and they did not handle it as well as Sunday’s heavy winds at Coors Field. But they had company.
Errors proved critical for both teams in a game that rolled past midnight tied until Anthony Rizzo fought off a Kenley Jansen cutter and dropped it into left field for an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning that sent the hardy remnants of the festive crowd home with a 3-2 Cubs victory over the Dodgers.
The fans weren’t the only ranks that had thinned out by the finish. The Dodgers lost Franklin Gutierrez to a left hamstring injury in the second inning, Justin Turner to a quadriceps issue in the eighth and were running out of relievers after starter Alex Wood went only 3-2/3 innings and Luis Avilan “tried to get warm late but really couldn’t because of his usage,” according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Avilan wasn’t the only one who couldn’t get warm.
“Freezing,” Roberts said of the conditions.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said he was actually more uncomfortable in Denver’s 40 mph wind gusts Sunday – “that wind cut right through you,” he said. Monday’s game…