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.

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.

Chapman, Cubs answer the “big ask”

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Something unexpected happened in Wrigley Field Sunday night. The Cubs—the real Cubs, the ones you watched or heard about all regular season long, the ones you remember from their pre-World Series postseason rounds—came to the ballpark.

They left their impressions of Cub calamities past somewhere. Who knows where? Who cares? The hosts who let the Indians make off with the valuables and leave them tied up in the closet didn’t wait for the cops.

Lester’s no-thanks-throwing-over a danger? Yip.

At the end of his first spring training as a Cub, in April 2015, Jon Lester thought his issue about throwing over to first base—which he doesn’t, if he can help it, which is most of the time—was no big deal. He still didn’t think so when the Cardinals took big leads off him and used them to help themselves toward an early-season 3-0 win televised nationally.

The Cubs had Lindor picked off dead to right but Lester (on the mound) still wouldn't throw to first. (Marks by a CBS Sports technician.)

The Cubs had Lindor picked off dead to right but Lester (on the mound) still wouldn’t throw to first. (Marks by a CBS Sports technician.)

Will the team with the best ex-Red Sox win the Series?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team's ex-Red Sox?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team’s ex-Red Sox?

That was then: The team with the most ex-Cubs lost. This could be now: The team with the best ex-Red Sox wins.

The Cubs’ ex-Red Sox: Theo Epstein (president of baseball operations), Jon Lester (the Cubs’ World Series Game One starting pitcher), and John Lackey. The Indians’ ex-Red Sox: Terry Francona (manager), Mike Napoli (first baseman/designated hitter), and Andrew Miller (extraterrestrial relief pitcher).

Factors to consider:

“That history thing” is lost on these Cubs . . . so far . . .

Baez (left) and Russell celebrate after Russell's second two-run bomb in two NCLS nights . . .

Baez (left) and Russell celebrate after Russell’s second two-run bomb in two NCLS nights . . .

You’ve heard it until you’re almost as sick of hearing it as you might be sick of watching Dodgers relief pitcher Pedro Baez pitch. (He takes so long between pitches it’s rumoured the Cubs might pay Mike Hargrove royalties to call Baez the Human Rain Delay.) You know. The Cubs haven’t been seen in a World Series since two months after World War II ended.

Medicine for the Mets: Sweep the Cubs

Loney (l) gives Flores the low-five on Flores's record-tying Sunday . . .

Loney (l) gives Flores the low-five on Flores’s record-tying Sunday . . .

Don’t even think about saying the Mets have been cured completely of their June swoon just yet. And don’t even think about saying the Cubs have been broken back to the land of the mere mortals just yet. But it wouldn’t be out of line to suggest that a weekend sweep of the Cubs gave the Mets their first serious medicinal break of the year. And we use the term “medicinal” advisedly.

No Cubs curses, just too much Mets

Big champagne for a big NLCS sweep . . .

Big champagne for a big NLCS sweep . . .

Time alone will determine whether the Mets and the Cubs develop a history between them comparable to that between the Yankees and the Red Sox for so many decades. Neither team wants to think about things like that right now.

The Mets want to think about preparing for and even winning the World Series. The Cubs want to think about how they’ve still got a brighter immediate future now than their own arduous history or their dispatch from this postseason suggest. Neither thought is entirely untenable.

The Pirates retaliate the best way, beating the Cubs in a set-opener

Cole, keeping the Cubs in check Friday.

Cole, keeping the Cubs in check Friday.

The Chicago Cubs have been itching for a postseason place all season long. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Pirates, they’ll have to wait at minimum until the San Francisco Giants lose to the Oakland Athletics Friday night, if they lose, before they clinch that place.

Opening the weekend as hosts to the Pirates the Cubs probably knew it wouldn’t be simple. And Gerrit Cole made sure they didn’t forget that knowledge Friday afternoon. Cole went seven against Jon Lester and came out ahead, surrendering one earned run and punching out eight to Lester’s two earned and six punched out.

Joe West has game—unfortunately

Torii Hunter and Joe West, who aren't likely to be sitting down to dinner together any time soon . . .

Torii Hunter and Joe West, who aren’t likely to be sitting down to dinner together any time soon . . .

God knows (as does His servant Casey Stengel) that I had better things to write about on the day after Opening Days. Things like Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond calling second baseman Dan Uggla (yes, Virginia, that Dan Uggla) off a by-the-book popup, dropping the ball, allowing the Mets first and second, leading to Lucas Duda busting up Max Scherzer’s no-hit bid with the two run single that made the difference in the Mets’ win.