7th Heaven? Champs relive stressful WS clincher

Cubs owners, coaches remember nerves, jubilation of final Fall Classic game

7th Heaven? Champs relive stressful WS clincher

CHICAGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he "died three times in Game 7." General manager Jed Hoyer would've preferred a 15-0 win instead of the nail-biter that resulted in the Cubs' first World Series championship since 1908.

Cubs owner Laura Ricketts said she felt like throwing up most of the night and had to calm her 10-year-old nephew, who was crying. A few days after the game, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said he had a nightmare that the team lost to the Indians. His wife blamed it on "postseason stress disorder."

Game 7 of the World Series was more than two months ago, but Cubs fans discovered on Saturday they weren't the only ones who were nervous as it unfolded at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Epstein, Hoyer and others shared some of their feelings during seminars on the second day of the Cubs Convention, held at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Tom Ricketts noted that players who made a mistake during postseason games had a chance to redeem themselves during the playoffs.

"It was almost like Hollywood wrote the whole script," Ricketts said.

Ricketts opens Cubs Convention

Even though the Cubs trailed 3-1 in the best of seven series, Ricketts said he was confident the Cubs would win the championship after they won Game 5 at Wrigley Field.

However, a fan did question Epstein on manager Joe Maddon's decision to pull Game 7 starter Kyle Hendricks after 4 2/3 innings. Epstein said Maddon had a game plan regarding how he was going to use his pitching, and that once starter Jon Lester was warming up in the bullpen, they needed to get the lefty in the game.

During a seminar with Maddon and his coaching staff, another fan asked about the Hendricks decision as well.

"There's no Game 8," Maddon said. "You can't play like it's June or July. You don't always have Jon Lester in the bullpen."

Epstein on Cubs Convention

After Hendricks was lifted, Lester pitched three innings in relief, followed by Aroldis Chapman, who gave up the game-tying runs. Pitching coach Chris Bosio was asked if they knew Chapman wasn't feeling 100 percent warming up for Game 7.

"I couldn't have been more impresed with an individual," Bosio said. "Nobody felt worse than he did [about what happened in Game 7]. ... But there's no way we could've done it without him."

The Cubs eventually did win, 8-7, in 10 innings, thanks to Ben Zobrist's tie-breaking RBI double and an insurance RBI by Miguel Montero.

The Nov. 4 parade in Chicago also had an impact on Bosio, who said he tried to make eye contact with everyone as their motorcade traveled through Chicago. He felt lots of "emotion, passion and relief."

"It's something I'll never forget and cherish the rest of my life," Bosio said.

Cubs fans will get to celebrate the team's first World Series title in 108 years again as they raise a championship banner at the home opener on April 10 against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Some fans also will be invited to be part of the ring ceremony, which will be April 12, also against the Dodgers.

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.