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World Series 2016: Cubs Trophy Celebration Highlights, Comments and More

The Chicago Cubs and their diehard fans enjoyed a celebration befitting the long-awaited end of the team's 108-year championship drought early Thursday morning as the team completed a memorable World Series comeback by defeating the Cleveland Indians on the road in Game 7.

Michael Martinez made the final out as his slow chopper to third was picked off the slick grass by Kris Bryant and fired across the diamond to Anthony Rizzo, who slyly slipped the ball into his back pocket as the celebration erupted in both Cleveland and Chicago.

It's a moment many Cubs fans have waited decades to witness. They endured a multitude of heartbreak few fanbases in the United States can even fathom along the way. In the end, however, all of that disappointment made the hard-fought triumph even more euphoric.

Of course, the moment of exaltation didn't come until after some drama. The Cubs blew a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth as Rajai Davis smoked a game-tying two-run homer to left field after Brandon Guyer had doubled home a run for Cleveland.

After a scoreless ninth, the umpiring crew decided to call for the tarp as a heavy rain shower passed through the area. But after waiting 108 years, a couple of extra minutes is nothing.

Chicago came right back out in the 10th and put two runs on the board courtesy of RBI hits by Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero. Cleveland got one back thanks to another clutch hit by Davis, but it wasn't enough as Mike Montgomery finally slammed the door shut on a terrific World Series.

Afterward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon discussed the championship from both a long-term and short-term perspective, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

"Historical," Maddon said. "This carries more significance in the city of Chicago, the fanbase, just history. Obviously, the last time it was won was over a century ago. But for me, the significance is that this team, this group, wins a World Series."

He added: "I wanted to attack the word 'pressure' and 'expectation' from day one, so that our guys would be used to hearing it, and also channel it in the proper direction. You've got to give our guys a lot of credit, because they've been hearing this from day one."

Steve Keating of Reuters passed along comments from World Series MVP Zobrist, who likened the series and its epic Game 7 finale to a prize fight.

"It was like a heavyweight fight, man," he said. "Just blow for blow, everybody played their heart out. The Indians never gave up either, and I can't believe we're finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy."

It's a result that seemed like a long shot after the Cubs fell behind 3-1 in the series with the final two games looming at Progressive Field.

But perhaps in the end, the Indians' injury issues finally caught up with them. They embarked on the playoff journey without outfielder Michael Brantley and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Fellow starter Danny Salazar returned, but he was limited to a bullpen role.

While the offense remained formidable, the starting rotation got stretched thin, forcing Corey Kluber to pitch three World Series games. The Cubs stuck with a four-man rotation and looked fresher over the final three contests. If Carrasco and Salazar were available to start, maybe Cleveland closes it out.

That said, Chicago was the best team all year long. It won 103 games during the regular season, eight more than the next-closest team, and the club's star-studded roster responded to adversity with seemingly unwavering confidence throughout the playoffs.

It set the stage for a night Cubs fans, who were tortured for so long and endured 464 losses in a five-year span starting in 2010 as the organization went through a complete rebuild, will never forget. Billy Witz of the New York Times provided the perfect remarks to sum it all up from Rizzo.

"We're world champions," Rizzo said. "The Chicago Cubs are world champions. Let that sink in."


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