CLEVELAND -- It's never been a secret that Cubs fans are everywhere. The fan base has always extended far beyond the Chicago city limits, and no matter where they play, regular season and beyond, there is always a vocal contingent of Cubs faithful that follows them.
This was never more evident than during Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night. The Cubs and Indians played one of the most exciting games in postseason history, and when it was over, Progressive Field turned into a Cubs party after Chicago's 8-7 victory. About 15,000 adoring fans filled nearly the entire lower bowl to celebrate the end of the Loveable Losers' 108-year championship drought.
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The familiar tune of "Go, Cubs, Go" cascaded down from the stands as Cubs players celebrated, piling on each other with hugs and high-fives. Through it all, they were very aware of the mob scene of fans that had formed, 25 rows deep, behind the dugout and all the way around, from foul pole to foul pole.
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The players made sure to include their faithful followers in the party.
Anthony Rizzo, for example, broke away from the bedlam on the infield to walk toward the crowd, holding the ball that represented the final out high in the air, before planting a championship kiss on it. Carl Edwards Jr. also ran out of the scrum, holding a Cubs "W" flag, gesturing toward the crowd.
Emotions ran high, everywhere.
"The thing I love about this team is that we care so much about each other," Jon Lester said. "You see everybody with tears in their eyes."
One of the most emotional moments occurred when several Cubs players paid homage to the retiring (and teary) David Ross, carrying him off the field on their shoulders in hero's fashion.
"I've been getting so many accolades and so many great things have happened this year, but how about this team?" Ross said. "These guys, they've taken me along on this journey. They've continued to win, fight, compete, never quit. I'm just lucky to be here."
The on-field celebration also included several celebrity Cubs fans. Actor Bill Murray took in the scene, also teary-eyed, seemingly overwhelmed by the scene around him.
"I like the world where we live in," Murray said. "The Cubs world. It's a really nice world."
Actor John Cusack also was at a loss for words, opting to simply point to the Cubs championship logo on his cap while hugging as many Cubs players as he could find.
And Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, one of the Cubs' most passionate, sincere and loyal supporters, offered few words, but dozens of hugs -- to everyone, from Cubs players to random people who were on the field to revel in the victory.
"I'm speechless," Vedder said. "I'm so sorry. But I'm speechless."
City leaders were present as well.
"I'm beyond thrilled," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "How many relatives have you had that have said, 'I want to live for one thing and one thing only, to see the Cubs win the World Series?'"