DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was a World Series win for the record books, but one North Texas university had a special reason to root for the Chicago Cubs.
Most Valuable Player Ben Zobrist played ball at Dallas Baptist University and to the head baseball coach Dan Heefner, he’s also family.
Like much of the country, Heefner watched anxiously as Ben Zobrist drove in the World Series-winning run for the Chicago Cubs. But most of us won’t get to dissect that game with him over Christmas dinner.
“So excited for him, knowing all the work that he’s put in,” said Heefner. “The type of teammate that he is. The type of guy that he is.”
Heefner and Zobrist met while playing ball at Olivet Nazarene University. Zobrist transferred to Dallas Baptist. They remained close friends and are now married to sisters.
“He’s incredible. He is extremely genuine. He is the real deal,” said Heefner. “He’s just an everyday guy who’s a really good baseball player.”
Heefner and his family got to cheer on Zobrist at Sunday’s Game 5 in Chicago.
“He was just normal Ben. You wouldn’t think it was the World Series if you would have showed up and seen how he was acting.”
But Heefner said two World Series rings and an MVP title aren’t what define Zobrist. That’s evident in the Patriot Forward Program Zobrist helped create – where he mentors and ministers to young alums in the minor leagues.
“He’s grinding through September, and he’s sending us texts, seeing how we’re doing and asking about our lives, and it’s kind of crazy because he’s in the middle of his season,” said Minor League player Sean Stutzman,
He and former teammate Drew Smith were among those cheering the loudest for Zobrist Wednesday night.
“It was such a cool moment seeing someone at this school, a small school in Texas, do something that big on that big of a stage,” said Smith.
“Here’s Ben at the highest level, and how he’s going about his business and that he’s staying true to his values and his faith, I think it encourages those guys that they can do the same thing,” said Heefner.
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