Cubs News

Christopher Morel delivers moment — and celebration — of the year in epic Cubs walk-off

9 months agoTony Andracki and Andy Martinez

If only Christopher Morel could figure out how to show some emotion on the baseball field…

The young Cubs designated hitter delivered the moment of the season Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with an absolutely epic walk-off 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning.

As if the blast wasn’t enough, Morel’s celebration was the icing on the cake.

He ripped his own jersey off before even crossing home plate!

“I don’t know what happened,” Morel said after the game. “I don’t even remember when I took it off. I know I took it off, but I don’t know why I took it off. The emotion? I don’t know. It didn’t go through my head it just came off.

“I just remember that the ball left, and I started to celebrate and I threw my helmet and I saw that my teammates were running out of the dugout.”

The moment was created a day earlier.

In Tuesday night’s loss to the White Sox, Morel led off the 9th inning of a 2-run game against White Sox closer Gregory Santos. Santos stuck him out on 3 pitches.

Wednesday night, he knew what to do.

“Tried not to do too much since he’s a pitcher that throws hard,” Morel said.

Early in the plate appearance, it looked a little bleak. Santos worked a quick 0-2 count with a 100-mph sinker and a 91.7 mph slider down and away. Morel took another slider and then tried to take a moment to ready himself for a big pitch. He remembered some sage advice from a former teammate with the crowd on its feet.

“Willson [Contreras] once told me in those moments just try to stay in like the eye of the hurricane, just try to make the moment just about me,” Morel said through team translator Fredy Quevada Jr. “Just think about what I’m doing in that moment, don’t think about anything else. Focus on the moment and focus on myself and what I’m doing in that moment.”

Boy, did he.

The result was an iconic moment in the Crosstown Classic, one that will surely be replayed for years to come.

“I got excited too,” manager David Ross said. “He got around the bases pretty fast. I think the manager brain in me is like ‘Make sure you touch all the bases.’ Dumb stuff like that. What a great swing. Great environment.

“I mean Christopher Morel, that’s — he’s just so electric. That ball was smoked. Line drive. I didn’t look at all the numbers and all the stuff, but like a line drive to get over the basket like that and that exit velocity, I haven’t even seen it all. Crazy, crazy swing.”

The drone shot over Wrigley Field captured the moment perfectly:

The Cubs were in danger of dropping their 3rd straight game and being swept by their Crosstown rivals. The White Sox led 3-0 and loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the 8th inning.

David Ross opted for a pitching change, calling Michael Fulmer’s number. Fulmer responded by carving through the heart of the South Side order, striking out 3 straight batters to end the threat.

“I think [that’s] gonna probably go unsung, but like Michael Fulmer, like wow,” Ross said. “What a big, big outing for him. That was huge for us.”

The Cubs immediately responded in the bottom of the frame as Nick Madrigal smacked a pinch-hit homer into the basket in left field.

“Nick Madrigal coming in and hitting a home run, once I saw that, I said to myself, ‘This game is ours,’” Morel said.

Drew Smyly, who picked up the win, pitched a scoreless 9th with 2 strikeouts and got out of the inning when Ian Happ had a perfect throw to Nico Hoerner at second to nab Elvis Andrus trying to stretch a single to a double.

In the bottom of the 9th, Cody Bellinger began with a double and Dansby Swanson followed with a walk. Morel swung and missed at the first two pitches, took a ball and then smacked a 99-mph sinker into the bleachers in right-center.

It was the moment of the season for the Cubs as they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

“I’m definitely very, very happy, very excited,” Morel said. “I definitely want to thank God. I want to thank my teammates. They never [gave] up, kept on fighting and just wanna go ahead and thank the fans as well and everyone out there with the environment and just everyone overall. It was a great moment.”

The Cubs are now 62-58 on the season and will look to ride the momentum into this weekend’s series against the Royals at Wrigley Field.

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