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Sports

Big-hitting Zobrist bags WS MVP

Associated Press
Big-hitting Zobrist bags WS MVP
Ben Zobrist.
AP

CLEVELAND – This is why Ben Zobrist came back home. And this is why manager Joe Maddon wanted him so badly.

The Cubs needed a veteran in the clubhouse to teach their seemingly endless supply of budding young stars, someone who’d been there. Who’d done that. Who cared little about curses or droughts. Who knew what Maddon wanted and how to translate it.

Zobrist, fresh off a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals, was searching for a place to spend the final years of a consistently fine career. What better place to do it than a 2-hour drive from where he grew up in central Illinois?

And there he was early Thursday morning, standing in the batter’s box in the top of the 10th inning in Game 7, facing a two-strike count with two runners on. Then the 35-year-old switch-hitter did something that may have encapsulated everything Maddon loves about him.

Zobrist shortened his swing. He fouled off one pitch to stay alive. The next provided the biggest blow in Chicago’s season-long bout with the weight of its own history, a double inside third base that scored pinch-runner Albert Almora Jr. with the go-ahead run in an 8-7 win that gave the Cubs their first championship since 1908 and earned Zobrist the World Series MVP award.

BEN ZOBRIST

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