It didn’t take long for Craig Kimbrel to feel the love of Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Cubs relief pitcher received a rapturous ovation from home fans Thursday afternoon as he made his long-await debut with the team. NBC Sports Chicago shared video of the moment Kimbrel entered the field at the start of the ninth inning to save the Cubs’ lead against the Atlanta Braves.
Kimbrel retired his first two batters before allowing a double and walking the next batter. He recovered his poise and forced Freddie Freeman to ground out to end the game and record his first save of 2019.
He might have been nervous upon taking the mound, not because he hadn’t pitched in a while, but because Cookie Monster stole the show in the middle of the 7th-inning with this legendary rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Such a daunting task might cause even battle-hardened closers like Kimbrel to question his own ability to put on a show.