Chicago's Most Wanted Makes Getaway

Be on the lookoput for a white Cadillac Escalade with Florida plates being driven by a young adult male with short hair who was last seen wearing dark, baggy gym shorts, a Miami Dolphins t-shirt and a wide grin.

Anthony Rizzo's last at-bat as an Iowa Cub was almost storybook. He flew deep to the warning track in right-center. I was standing directly above the player who made the catch, hoping the ball would travel a few more feet than it did so I could scamper down a flight of stairs, out a gate and retrieve it. There was no one else in the area with the same idea. Oh well. Instead I strolled around behind the Cub Club atop the leftfield wall and found the homer Josh (JV) Vitters had pounded minutes earlier hitting in front of Rizzo. When I returned from that scavenger hunt Rizzo had been lifted and the inevitable was a reality rippling through the stands.

I spent the rest of the game lying in wait outside the I-Cub clubhouse with a local TV crew and a few autograph hounds. A gopher emerged and drove off in Rizzo's car after loading it with gear. Was it a diversion? Was Rizzo being smuggled off the grounds disguised as a Zooperstar? The gopher returned about half an hour later having apparently washed the car and presumably gassed it up for the five-hour drive to the big leagues.

You'd figure the guy getting the call-up would be anxious to make his getaway. But when Rizzo finally emerged he was maybe the last of the I-Cubs to leave. By then I'd moved my car nose-to-nose with his and got to ask him something while he signed balls and caps as a Triple A'er for what we all hope is the last time. That final at-bat when he went not quite deep enough, did he know it was his last plate appearance as an I-Cub? He said no. "Honestly, I had no clue," he insisted and there's no reason to doubt him. Unless the scoreboard operator who told me Rizzo is usually all business during pregame BP and this morning he was uncharacteristically loosey-goosey, as though he knew a pleasant secret, deserves credence.

As for the game, Vitters drove in both runs in the I-Cubs' 2-1 triumph, their seventh consecutive game against Round Rock as the teams play a home-and-home of four-game series. Jay Jackson, groping for a niche as a middle reliever, fanned the side in the 8th and Rafael Dolis notched the save with a scoreless 9th.

While waiting for Rizzo and feeling like a paparazzo I watched Brett Jackson and Vitters oblige the autograph seekers. As I suspected, Jackson does not rise to his listed 6'2". His hair is as California moppy as Rizzo's is hip-hop close-cropped. Vitters seems slight up close. I've been skeptical of his potential but now that I have a piece of him, maybe I'll cut him some slack. We'll see how he does without Rizzo hitting behind him any longer. Defensively he made his 13th error today but also started a couple of DP's.

Rizzo too appears smaller in person than his prodigious numbers paint him in the mind's eye. But he's thick-legged and, one hopes, thick-skinned too. He'll need to be. Even an approximation of his deeds here won't salvage this moribund season in Chicago. But it would certainly go a long way toward making the next several more promising.

After saying all of his good-byes Rizzo climbed into his white Escalade and I got into my black Accord and followed him out of the parking lot. Our routes were the same for several blocks through downtown Des Moines. When he turned east and drove off into his much-anticipated future I turned west and headed home. Now I gotta go finish mowing the lawn. Rizzo should make Chicago by sundown. He's all yours.

Comments

Thanks, Mike!
Love to read these types of firsthand accounts, especially on such a heavily-awaited day.

Thanks for reading, Jace!

Twitterverse:

Muskat- Sveum's message to Rizzo: "Don't try to carry the team on your shoulders."

ESPN (Padilla)/- Sveum confirms Rizzo will play at 1B every day, even vs lefties to start. Sveum on what he will say to Rizzo: "You're not here to be the savior."

Muskat- Ian Stewart is hitting. Still working on timetable. Dempster threw flat ground.

http://view.ed4.net/v/A0RVJE/DXB50G/KSKTSSR/6...

Blues Brothers Movie night, Friday, July 6th (while Cubs are in NY vs Mets)

R rated film...i remember them...

there's a lot of newer high-budget flicks that could benefit from R rather than PG-13.

the original Bad News Bears was PG. that one might not even make PG-13 these days based on the slurs. yeah, i know the ratings system has been skewed since then...but...*sigh*

Midnight Cowboy was a X-rating without showing intercourse and showing very little unusual nudity (unless you count voight butt)...that time change swings both ways...

per roto...

Pirates released OF/1B/C Jake Fox.
Fox, 29, was hitting just .236/.309/.366 with two homers and a .675 OPS over his first 139 plate appearances with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He'll attempt to latch on elsewhere.

file under AAAA next to J. Dubois

matt spencer (part of the trade that sent him) has been converted to a pitcher...not very well so far in Boise.

jeff gray is doing his usual mediocre/replaceable performance for MIN...at least in the bigs.

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 5:02pm — crunch

matt spencer (part of the trade that sent him) has been converted to a pitcher...not very well so far in Boise.

jeff gray is doing his usual mediocre/replaceable performance for MIN...at least in the bigs.

=============================

CRUNCH: You didn't just realize tonight that Matt Spencer had been converted to pitcher, right?

I've only mentioned it about a hundred times since last September.

And he just got promoted to Peoria this past Sunday.

yeah, im just saying he's not doing very well in boise (and stating where he's at now...plus i left out/forgot ronny morla, who seems to be playing indie ball). it's spencer's first real assignment (aside from spot innings in AAA/AA while he was still trying to be a batter).

i probably should have mentioned the "not very well so far" was 4.1ip, though.

i did miss that he got promoted. sweet. i love a good reclamation project. i wish brooks keishnick the relief pitcher + pinch hitter could have lasted longer...and happened about a 6+ years earlier as a cub rather than a brewer.

tonight's CWS scorecard has "Youklis" playing 3rd and hitting 2nd.

welcome to chicago's south side, dude.

some jerk in LF in MIA just threw a "beverage" all over matt holliday.

whoever threw that is lucky that fence is so high...

mitch williams decided to share his own "beverage" story talking about how he got hit with a beer from a fan, threw a cup of water back at the guy, and the SF police tried to arrest mitch mid-game until it was all sorted.

s.castro draws his 1st walk since Jun 2nd...no, i'm not kidding.

-edit- neither is len, evidently.

since when does t.wood throw 93mph fastballs regularly?

...dat game gun.

He's pumped for ratso!

he just missed a homer by about 30ft wide...so evidently yeah.

damn wind.

also, LOL his batting helmet decal location.

joe mather has switched from #16 to #21 (sosa's old #)...so like...that hitting slump is good as dead.

...and he hits a 2r homer.

screw batting coaches, un-retire some cubs uniform numbers and we're set.

@peoriachiefs: 0-0 after 2nd inning. Baez left game after making a barehanded play in the bottom of the 2nd. Looked like a finger injury.

Cubs lead 2-0 in the 7th.

Cubs will lose because of:
A) Leaving wood in too long
B) bullpen implosion
C) a defensive error
D) marmol'd

shawn camp...aka, B

Cubs will win. Have faith.

And Rizzo will be the piece that will put them over the top.

A) Leaving wood in too long *chuckle*

hah

a triple on a ball hit about 3ft.

that was so awesome.

doh...he got some glove on that...error.

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy Mike Wellman's essays from Iowa. This last one may not rank with "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" by Updike, but someday (I hope) it will be remembered in the same nostalgic/elegaic way.

bless you...

D. wright fail...props to Cardenas for hustling most of the way

lulz...dat mets D.

outs turn into guys on base and runs...2, 3-base errors with 1 out in the inning.

Mets defense just showing off now.

Remarkably none of this involving Cedeno.

...and cue the cedeno error.

Never mind on Cedeno. He felt left out.

Porcello and Castellanos for Dempster, Barney, and Vitters?

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/tigers-porcello-...

I think Porcello sucks.

that sounds absolutely batshit insane for the cubs.

This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day.

I'm sure the guy with the below 5 K/9 rate and 92 ERA+ for his career is available.

Noooooo Way

I've got a 1.96 ERA for Travis Wood in his last 5 starts, which also happens to be his June splits.

2.70 ERA discounting the wind-blowing-out debacle versus the Padres.

Cardenas optioned to Iowa to make room for Rizzo.

Rizzo to wear #44.

Sampling of Cubs #44 worn by:

Dick Ruthven - 1984
Drew Hall - 1987
Steve Wilson - 1989
Burt Hooton - 1971
Amaury Telemaco - 1996
Dave Giusti - 1977

All NOT to be confused with a 44 on another team from New York...Reggie something, I think...

I was thinking #44 on the Milw Braves. At 1B, McCovey comes to mind.

So it seems like a great choice of # to me, very evocative.

No mention of Chad Fox?

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 10:11pm — The E-Man

Sampling of Cubs #44 worn by:

Dick Ruthven - 1984
Drew Hall - 1987
Steve Wilson - 1989
Burt Hooton - 1971
Amaury Telemaco - 1996
Dave Giusti - 1977

All NOT to be confused with a 44 on another team from New York...Reggie something, I think...

===================================

E-MAN: Not to mention AZ Phil's namesake, Phil Cavarretta.

When I was a little whippersnapper, #44 was unofficially retired for many, many years (almost 20 years) by the Cubs (as was #16 was for several years after Ken Hubbs died), I guess because Cavarretta was considered the last great Cubs player from the '45 Cubs WS team.

That's pretty cool PHIL!

Wasn't Pafko part of the '45 team?

I don't think he's in the same class with your namesakem though.

peoriachiefsPeoria Chiefs

Great news on Baez everything checked out ok. Day to day,

http://www.csnchicago.com/baseball-chicago-cu...

“He’s another player on this team trying to help us win games. He’s going to probably struggle. Young players do. It will be fun for the fans to watch him make adjustments and try to fight his way into becoming a useful big-league player.”

he's got a strange idea of 'fun.'

Jamie Moyer signs a minor league deal with the Blue Jays.

He's heading west !

woo!

Beautiful, Mike.

jeepers...

Thanks for the undercover work, Well-Mann!

Ha! My pleasure...

Recent comments

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  • Cards already whining

    Cardinals look a little road-weary on getaway day http://espn.go.com/blog/st-louis-cardinals//post/_...
     -via ESPN http://es.pn/app

  • dee gordon (MIA) suspended 80 days for PEDs. wow.

    "excessive testosterone and Clostebol"

    hell of a late-night news flash.

  • [Terrified emoji]

  • Seems like a bizarre pick -- they moved up 2 spots to pick up a guy who was not dominant in college. According to the talking heads, supposedly a great athlete (but an unpolished football player). So was Alonzo Spellman. And the guy who could jump out of a pool. Bears have missed the playoffs 5 straight years and 8 of the last 9. And they made Marc Trestman an NFL head coach. Maybe they can hire Theo in his free time. Sheesh.

  • And then the Bears pick an undersized linebacker with very few sacks in his college career and very little ability to shed blocks and the draft becomes less of a joy.

  • Watching the NFL Draft on ESPN with the mute on is one of the greatest joys in my small life. Being able to not hear Roger Goodell, Chris Berman, Jon Gruden, and Mel Kiper in quick order is just somehow immensely satisfying. I hope by the time the Bears pick they have Steven AAAAAAAAAAAAA Smith and Skip Bayless on so I can not hear them too.

  • even if the cubs lose feder, he's easily replaceable with a cash/low-end-ptbnl trade...plus, taylor davis is wasting time down in AA and he could pop up to AAA to back up w.conteras.

  • Tim Federowicz is out of minor league options, so Outright Assignment Waivers would be needed before he can be sent back to Iowa. He also has the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, but he probably wouldn't elect to be a FA if outrighted unless the Cubs shit on him somehow while he's up with the big club (not likely). 

    But it is possible that another MLB club could claim Federowicz if the Cubs place him on waivers, which would leave Willson Contreras as pretty much the only other option if a catcher goes on the DL again later in the season. 

  • CRAIG: D. J. Wilson is hitting 083/115/167 in six Cactus League EXST games (26 PA), but his K-rate is only 11.5% and he has somehow managed to drive-in five runs along the way (he's tied for second on the team in RBI), so it's not like he's swinging & missing a lot. He does seem to be feeling for the ball a bit, however, which has resulted in too much weak contact and not enough line drives.  

  • Bryant sprained ankle MRI tomorrow

  • Cubs did a lot of that today: 2-for-17 with RISP.

    Man, what an ugly baseball game - Cubs receive 11 walks and Bryant reached twice by HBP, the Brewers pitchers threw almost 200 pitches (199 pitches...in 8 innings!), they even walked Baez (first one of the year), Cubs scored twice when Brewers botched routine DP balls, Cahill walks three guys with a 6-run lead, forcing Maddon to waste Strop, the weather sucked again, etc. Happy with the win, but that was really tough to watch.

  • "Some of the most racist things I've ever heard have come out of people that are on the air at ESPN," Schilling said Wednesday on "Breitbart News Patriot Forum." He was fired by ESPN last week.

    “In the end for me it felt like that rule applied to me and me alone because I was conservative … Bigots are calling me a bigot. A bigot is someone who refuses to accept a different opinion. I will accept anyone’s opinion.”

    ---

  • Rolled scoring on Rizzo double

  • Re ZOBRIST -

    Today's game is what I was referring to re Zobrist and RISP struggles. He did come through with his patented single to drive in a run - but also left the bases loaded, and two men on, no outs (called 3rd).

    So, I hope he can pick that part of his game up when they start playing the better teams...

  • Don't see anything on the replay showing where he rolled it and he played for 2 more innings after so at first glance it so doesn't seem major. Very cold today so any discomfort is probably amplified.

  • How bad was Bryant's ankle sprain?