Theo recognizes familiar buzz around Wrigley

Epstein notes feel about Cubs has similarities, differences compared to 2004 Red Sox

Theo recognizes familiar buzz around Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Don't think Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is jaded at all this October because he already has two World Series rings with the Red Sox. This is different.

"On the one hand, it's brand new because it's with the Cubs and it's got that special feel, because it hasn't happened in any of our lifetimes -- well, most of our lifetimes here," Epstein said. "But on the other hand, there are some rhythms of the postseason that seem real familiar coming back."

Epstein and the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, ending an 86-year drought, and then again in '07. He recognizes the buzz around the ballpark, the crispness in the air, the giddiness of fans.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 25 CLE 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 26 CHC 5, CLE 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 28 CLE 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 29 CLE 7, CHC 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 30 CHC 3, CLE 2 video
Gm 6 Nov. 1 CHC 9, CLE 3 video
Gm 7 Nov. 2 CHC 8 CLE, 7 (10) video

"The World Series always seems like a blur," Epstein said. "It seems like you remember those earlier postseason games more, and then the World Series is just like a whirlwind. So we're all going to make a concerted effort to stop and enjoy this as it happens. Maybe it's because those were both sweeps or something, I don't know, but they seemed to happen really fast."

• Shop for Cubs World Series and NL champs gear

Both of those Red Sox championships were indeed sweeps as they beat the Cardinals in '04 and the Rockies in '07.

The Cubs and Indians are tied at one win apiece after two games in Cleveland, and Game 3 will be played tonight at Wrigley Field. It will be the first World Series game at the 100-plus-year-old ballpark since 1945, which was the Cubs' last trip to the Fall Classic.

Epstein said he took a moment on Tuesday during Game 1 to appreciate what the Cubs had accomplished.

"I think Saturday night, when we won [the National League Championship Series], it was pretty emotional, and we did a real good job celebrating," Epstein said. "On Sunday morning when we woke up, we started focusing on Cleveland. I'll be looking at our guys and I'll be looking across the field and looking at matchups, and wondering how this Series is going to go in big moments."

Kyle Schwarber has provided some of the biggest moments in the World Series with his amazing comeback after tearing two ligaments in his left knee in the third game of the regular season. Epstein and Schwarber developed a strong relationship before the Cubs selected the outfielder/catcher in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

Schwarber not cleared to play outfield

"He's not at all scared of the moment or what could go wrong," Epstein said. "He's eager. He's doing this for his team. He's doing this for his teammates and the organization, and that's really how he operates. It's not just a line. If you're around him every day, you see. That's why his teammates love him. He always does whatever he can just to help this team win. It's not about him or his stature or numbers or anything. It's just all about winning that game for his teammates."

Schwarber not cleared for field

Epstein knows how rare this is, but Schwarber is different than most players. Wrigley Field fans still talk about the home run he hit on top of the right-field video board during the NL Division Series last year against the Cardinals.

"He's going to face great pitching so he's going to make outs, just like all our guys are going to make outs," Epstein said. "But we think there will be a moment where he does something special for us."

So far, Schwarber has done just that, and it's only been two games.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.