World Series memories still fresh for Cubs fans at exhibition opener

This was not your typical exhibition opener.The 2016 world championship trophy was displayed behind home plate as a sellout crowd of 14,929 filled Sloan Park. And Rajai Davis was booed in his first at-bat.“It’s spring (training), but it means something,”...

World Series memories still fresh for Cubs fans at exhibition opener

This was not your typical exhibition opener.

The 2016 world championship trophy was displayed behind home plate as a sellout crowd of 14,929 filled Sloan Park.

And Rajai Davis was booed in his first at-bat.

“It’s spring (training), but it means something,” Jason Heyward said after the fans showed their appreciation of the Cubs’ 2016 championship season in an array of emotions.

Fans lined up along the 300-foot dirt path from the Cubs’ clubhouse to the stadium to express their support.

And some fans didn’t forgive Davis for hitting a game-tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series for the Cleveland Indians that nearly ruined the Cubs’ Series hopes.

Davis received a scattering of boos in his first at-bat for the Oakland Athletics, but those taunts evaporated before his next at-bat.

“They kind of let him off the hook and let him be,” Heyward said. “It’s cool.”

Heyward and Mike Montgomery, who had the distinction of getting the final out in Game 7 and starting the Cubs’ exhibition opener against the A’s, enjoyed the hoopla and support from the fans.

“I had some adrenaline going,” said Montgomery, who was one of the beneficiaries of a standing ovation as he and his teammates took the field in the first inning. “It was something different I haven’t had for the past few months. It’s fun. These fans are great, and this was my first time in that stadium. It was cool to see that and be in that atmosphere and competing. That’s what we love.”

Heyward, who received plenty of support from Cubs fans during a miserable 2016 season, described the Cubs’ fans “second to none” in their appreciation and targeting of Davis.

“They have fun with the game,” Heyward said. “They acknowledge him. That’s pretty cool for Cubs fans or any fans to boo you from last year’s World Series. To be on that side of things means you did something great. It’s just fun for us that we’re going to have fun with that. The fans will have fun with that, which is cool.

“All the teams we played in the playoffs are out here in spring training. It’s really fun, and it’s good for the makeup of our team and other teams as well when you compete that way. You’re thrown right back into the fire when you talk about the competition and remember things that happen in the postseason. We don’t dwell on it too much. We know what happened.”

The intensity is expected to be amplified Sunday when the Cubs play host to the Indians in a rematch of 2016 World Series opponents.

Caption Jason Heyward on level of comfort with new swing, support from Cubs

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Jason Heyward on level of comfort with new swing, support from Cubs

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Mike Montgomery on his expected role with Cubs, first exhibition start

Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery discusses his upcoming role with the team this season and reacts to his first exhibition outing in which he threw one scoreless inning on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery discusses his upcoming role with the team this season and reacts to his first exhibition outing in which he threw one scoreless inning on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Manager Joe Maddon on the Cubs' first games, at-bats and lineups

Manager Joe Maddon talks about the Cubs' first games, at-bats and lineups. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Manager Joe Maddon talks about the Cubs' first games, at-bats and lineups. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer on Pedro Strop's contract extension

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer discusses the contract extension of reliever Pedro Strop on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer discusses the contract extension of reliever Pedro Strop on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Joe Maddon on the Cubs' relay and bunt drills

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

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