TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Chicago Cubs won the World Series, but Tampa is celebrating along with them because a couple former Tampa Bay Rays are largely to thank for the history-making win.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon managed the Rays for almost a decade, leaving in 2014 for the Cubs. Ben Zobrist was on the team almost as long-- seven years.
Both men were instrumental in the Cubs success this year.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon quickly turned a team that finished last place in three consecutive seasons into world champions. He also help bring in Ben Zobrist who was fresh off a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals. That proved to be a good move.
In the top of the 10th inning in Game 7 of the World Series, and facing two strikes with the potential go ahead run on second base, Zobrist hit a shot down the third base line giving the Cubs the lead-- eventually winning the World Series.
Fans put up a banner, with a big “W” marking the Cub’s World Series win, at Maddon's Tampa home on Bayshore Blvd., congratulating him on the historic win.
Fans are even writing their congratulations on the banner with notes like, “Joe, you’ve never looked better” and “In Joe Maddon we trust!”
A watch party was also held at Maddon's restaurant, Ava, where Tampa baseball fans cheered on the beloved ex-Ray's manager for a Cubs victory.
And maybe, just maybe, Rays fans can finally forgive Maddon and Zobrist for leaving us now that they have made history by bringing home a Cubs World Series, successfully ending the longest title drought in baseball.
Congratulations from Tampa Bay to the Chicago Cubs on winning the 2016 World Series, and to our ex-Rays family who helped get them there.