Ben Zobrist can rest easy now.
The man from Eureka, Ill., who studies hitting for a living became a World Series champion Wednesday for the second time in 368 days.
The left fielder also became a World Series MVP after he helped the Cubs to the franchise's first title since 1908 by batting .357 in the series with two doubles, a triple and two RBIs.
"When I'm falling asleep (Tuesday) night, man, I'm like, 'I'm not breathing normal. Just relax here,'" said Zobrist, who helped the Royals to the title last year. "Same thing when you go out on the field. We're normal people. We get nerve-racked and anxious just like everybody else. We just have to try to trick ourselves into believing it's not going to affect us."
Zobrist had just one hit in Game 7, but it was an arm-raising, emotion-inducing RBI double in the 10th inning that scored pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. with the go-ahead run in an 8-7 victory at Progressive Field.
"I just was thinking, 'Don't try to be the hero, just stay inside the ball, try to get the pitch out over the plate and hit it the other direction,'" Zobrist said. "Really it was uncomfortable, the at-bat."
Zobrist had five hits in his first eight World Series at-bats. He also walked four times and scored four runs.
That performance came on the heels of a tough first two rounds for Zobrist, who hit .167 with a .494 OPS in 10 postseason games before the World Series.
Manager Joe Maddon, though, said the switch-hitting Zobrist, 35, is valuable to the young Cubs even when he's not hitting well.
"He sets examples for everybody's at-bats," Maddon said. "His at-bats are the most professsional on a daily basis.
"He's among that elite group in all of professional baseball that, even if he's not getting hits or if he's in a slump, he's still doing something to contribute to the offensive side just based on his at-bats, his willingness to accept walks, his good baserunning ability. All of that stuff, just by watching it, helps these other kids."
All the way to the World Series title.