Flag night a banner night for Rizzo and the Cubs

Rizzo led the celebration parade with the World Series trophy aloft after a rain-delayed opening Monday night . . .

Rizzo led the celebration parade with the World Series trophy aloft after a rain-delayed opening Monday night . . .

It figured. Really. Who else but the Cubs could come home from a season-opening road trip, prepared to hoist their World Series championship flag, and have it delayed by rain?

This rain delay lasted a lot longer than the one during which Jason Heyward pulled his mates to the clubhouse for the pep talk that led to the Cubs breaking the Game Seven tie and holding on to win game, set, and Series five months ago.

They know nussing—nussing!

Molina and the Cardinals have no idea (wink) how that ball got stuck to his chest protector Thursday.

Molina and the Cardinals have no idea (wink) how that ball got stuck to his chest protector Thursday.

It looked innocent as the Bad News Bears Thursday afternoon. Brett Cecil, the Cardinals relief pitcher, threw a fastball to Cubs pinch hitter Matt Szczur opening the top of the seventh that hit the dirt and disappeared, allowing Szczur to reach first despite the stickout–er, strikeout.

Except that the ball didn’t disappear. It bounced into catcher Yadier Molina’s chest protector. And stayed there.┬áCecil had to shout, “Chest! Chest!” before Molina realised where the ball was. And the amusing mishap, over which even the Cubs had to laugh, proved to be the moment that turned toward the Cubs a game the Cardinals led 4-2 at the time.

Dallas Green, RIP: Toughness to tragedy

Green (right) joining the field party with Mike Schmidt (20) and, center, relief ace Tug McGraw, as the Phillies win their first World Series.

Green (right) joining the field party with Mike Schmidt (20) and, center, relief ace Tug McGraw, as the Phillies win their first World Series.

Dallas Green, who died today at 82, once told his players he was the toughest sonofabitch for whom they’d ever play. Whether leading the Phillies to their first World Series title or surviving the furies of George Steinbrenner with the 1989 Yankees or the planned obsolescence of the early-to-mid 1990s Mets, Green’s kind of tough let him survive the kind of times that could break the toughest of birds at a moment’s notice.

The thrill isn’t gone for Cub Country, yet

Wrigley FieldDexter Fowler, who hit Game Seven’s fourth pitch over the center field fence? He’s a Cardinal now, having signed with the rivals during the offseason. Aroldis Chapman, gassed at last and serving Rajai Davis a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth? Back to the Yankees from whence he came.

David Ross, who atoned post haste for a wild throw and a run-scoring bounce off his catcher’s mask by hitting one out on Andrew Miller’s dime? Retired. Jason Hammell, the missing man of the rotation with an elbow issue? Free agent, not likely to return, joining a small pack of marksmen who think Joe Maddon doesn’t really know as much about handling pitchers as he thinks.

The Yankees tell Chapman, “Let’s do it again”—and how

Chapman returns to the Yankees on a record-setting deal . . .

Chapman returns to the Yankees on a record-setting deal . . .

The next time the world champion Cubs see Aroldis Chapman will be either in regular season interleague play or in the World Series, assuming the Cubs return within the next five years and face the Yankees. Not that they’re complaining about dealing for Wade Davis, but you suspect in their hearts of hearts the Cubs knew Chapman was a second-half rental.

Aroldis who? The Cubs deal for Davis; the Royals say goodbye H-D-H

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Once upon a time, Motown included a venerable songwriting and production trio, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland. Colloquially, they were known as HDH. Half a century later, the Royals had a late-game bullpen corps of Kelvim Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. Also known colloquially as H-D-H.

Montero’s complaint, timed terribly

Why would a guy who came up big twice with the bases loaded this postseason complain?

Why would a guy who came up big twice with the bases loaded this postseason complain?

Somewhere up from the depth of Chicago’s loud, raucous, bigger-than-Woodstock celebration of the Cubs’ transcendental triumph there came a small voice of dissent. Miguel Montero, the no-questions asked hero of National League Championship Series Game One and the man who drove home the eighth and final Cub run of World Series game seven, was not amused by his usage during the Cubs’ postseason run.

Beneath the big smile he flashed during the Cubs’ celebrations Friday beat the heart of a man who believes he could have and should have been allowed more chances to contribute more.

Journeyman Ross came and went with very different bangs

Game Seven: David Ross, about to meet Andrew Miller's ball for a date over the center field fence . . .

Game Seven: David Ross, about to meet Andrew Miller’s ball for a date over the center field fence . . .

Willie Mays didn’t get to retire like a champion, and neither did Mickey Mantle. Nor did Henry Aaron, Ernie Banks, Yogi Berra, George Brett, Lou Brock, Harmon Killebrew, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Billy Williams, and a small passel of Hall of Famers.

How many major league baseball players get to retire as well as David Ross?

The Cubs. World champions. Signed, Epstein’s mother.

The party's on . . .

The party’s on . . .

Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.

The Cubs, not Naquin, forced Game Seven

Naquin, after stranding ducks on the pond with a fourth inning-ending strikeout, wasn't the main reason there'll be a Game Seven.

Naquin, after stranding ducks on the pond with a fourth inning-ending strikeout, wasn’t the main reason there’ll be a Game Seven.

Heaven help Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall if the Indians go forth and fall in Game Seven. Try as you might, the sports goat business never falls onto hard times. And it’s a lot easier to seek, find, and put in the stockade a single culprit than to look beyond his moment of infamy.