As the players said their goodbyes, there was something else that stood out to Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
He couldn't help but notice that "tinge of disappointment" in the clubhouse. To Epstein, it showed just how far the organization has come.
"It shows just how much the expectations have been raised around here and how high the bar is," he said Friday, a day after the Cubs were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. "And that is a great thing."
With 292 regular-season victories and 19 more in the playoffs, the Cubs have more combined wins than any other team the past three years.
They ended a championship drought that dated to 1908 by beating Cleveland in last year's World Series. And though they struggled through the first half of this season, they started to play more like their old selves after that.
The Cubs boosted their rotation with a big trade to land Jose Quintana from the crosstown White Sox at the All-Star break, then posted the best record in the National League the rest of the way. They wiped out a 5½-game deficit to finish with 92 wins and their second straight Central division crown.
They beat Washington in a grueling Division Series, too. The Cubs just couldn't hang with the Dodgers in the NLCS and got knocked out in five games. Even so, this team doesn't appear to be fading any time soon.
"We're gonna consistently compete here for years to come," Anthony Rizzo said.
Seager in lineup
Corey Seager is expected to be in the Los Angeles Dodgers' lineup for the opener of the World Series after missing the NL Championship Series because of back pain.
Seager, an All-Star shortstop, watched from home as the Dodgers eliminated the Cubs.
Manager Dave Roberts says Seager is "doing everything he can to get healthy" and the Dodgers "expect him back for Game 1."
As anticipated, Clayton Kershaw will pitch the World Series opener against the Houston Astros or New York Yankees on Tuesday night. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner held Chicago to a run over six innings on Thursday night and will pitch Game 1 on regular rest.
• Rutgers moved its Nov. 4 football game and wrestling duel against Maryland from Yankee Stadium to on-campus High Point Solutions Stadium because of the Yankees' postseason run. Rutgers said Friday that the joint decision with the Yankees was made to allow a sufficient amount of time to logistically stage the events in Piscataway, N.J.
• The Detroit Tigers are declining their $16 million option on righthander Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez slipped badly over the past three seasons. He went 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 2017.
• The Washington Nationals announced that second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent surgery on his right knee Friday. They said it was successful.