By: Titus Williamson
¨Top of the 10th after a 17 minute rain delay. Anthony Rizzo intentionally walked. Now it´s your one and only Ben Zobrist. Ben doubles Rizzo to third and sends home Albert Almora, and the Cubs win the 2016 World Series!¨ The huge crowd of Cubs fans let out a cheer as Coach Craig Gerdes recounted the night of November 2nd when Ben Zobrist and his team won the World Series.
Although delayed in November last year, nothing would be able to stop Ben Zobrist from meeting everyone in his hometown. And on Saturday, January 21, he did just that. As hundreds of fans lined up waiting to get into the college gym, the EHS band entertained their audience with the famous “Go Cubs Go” melody, along with several other short songs led by Director Todd Stalter. Once inside, everyone was greeted by a sea of red and blue, and, not surprisingly, many Zobrist jerseys.
After everyone was seated, a huge cheer went up, heads turned, and Ben was lead onto the stage along with Bob Gold, Coach Craig Gerdes, and several members of the Eureka Events Committee who hosted the event. Ben was introduced, and then spoken about by several of his coaches and mentors throughout his earlier years. While Bob Gold was speaking, he mentioned, “At one point after senior year, Ben came into my office and said ‘Coach I just feel like I’m not done playing Baseball’ Well he sure wasn’t!” For the next hour, Zobrist was presented with awards, acknowledgements, and many stories of his younger days.
After receiving The Key to the City, An Official Congratulations from the State House of Representatives, and even a street honorarily named after him, Ben finally got to speak. “I’m pretty sure none of the other guys on the team have ever gotten a welcome home like this. Thanks for all the cool stuff!” Ben stated. He then went on to thank his family, his friends, but most of all God. “ It takes talent, opportunity and hard work,” said Ben. “You only have control over one of those, hard work. The talent comes from God and the opportunity comes from your parents, community, and school.” Regardless of how famous Ben is or becomes, we will always know he came from small-town Eureka, Illinois.