The Chicago Cubs just made history with their first World Series win in 108 years, breaking a century-long curse. But up-and-coming Cubbies players, like left fielder Kyle Schwarber, are already looking to the future, determined to continue the winning streak.
“We got the right formula to keep this going for a while,” Schwarber, 23, tells PEOPLE. “We’re confident, not cocky, that we can go again next year.
“We believe in ourselves.”
PEOPLE caught up with the fresh-faced slugger, who Cubs fans are already comparing to Babe Ruth, at New York’s Mandarin Oriental hotel to chat about life after victory and how he’s handling sudden fame.
“It’s been a whirlwind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Schwarber, who singled to start a 10th-inning rally that carried the Chicago Cubs to their 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 on November 2. “Now we celebrate, remember, relax and we look forward.”
And while Schwarber and his teammates plan on “going all the way” again next year, they’re still soaking in all the fan attention that came with the win.
“It’s still hitting me. My palms were sweating the whole game, I’d never been so nervous” says Schwarber, who recently appeared on Live with Kelly (Kelly Ripa complimented his dimples with a, “So cute!”). “And then all of a sudden it was over and we were like, ‘Let’s go party!’ ”
And celebrate, they did. Two days after the win, Schwarber and his teammates boarded a bus and paraded through the streets of Chicago, where a record five million fans showed up, decked out in Cubbie blue, to show their support.
“I imagine it was like what playing at Woodstock must have felt like, all eyes on us,” recalls Schwarber. “Like, the fans showed us how much they loved and respected what we did on the field. It was a beautiful moment. Looking out at Grant Park and not being able to see where the crowds of people ended, that was special.”
Schwarber describes having a “brotherly relationship” with his teammates, saying the Cubs had “a lot of fun” with each other during the parade.
“It’s only funny because he didn’t get hurt, but David Ross got hit by a power line,” he says of the Cubs’ venerable catcher. “Pretty sure [John] Lackey got hit too, so funny.”
And now that the “crazy” post-victory celebrations are coming to a close and media tours are winding down, Schwarber will spend time in New York with his girlfriend of six years, Paige Hartman, seeing sights and attending a taping of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (“We’re huge fans!” says Schwarber).
“It will be nice to sort of get back to normal now,” he says. “But not for long.”
Schwarber, who is still in recovery from a torn ACL and LCL sustained in April that kept him out for most of the season, will rehab for the next month before getting back to his normal training.
“I want to get back to the field, it’s always on my mind,” he says. “As a team, now we know what it takes to get there and what adversity tastes like. But we also know how to overcome that and attain a goal.
“Bring it on!”