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...

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  • That's a hell of a first impression by Montgomery. Brian Cashman having a good laugh on that debut.

    Eric S 11 hours 51 min ago view
  • ...and it's a 3 run homer.

    hey, vogelbomb had a HR on his 1st game with SEA AAA, too!

    crunch 12 hours 11 min ago view
  • montgomery comes on with men on 1st/2nd, 2 out, in the 8th.

    crunch 12 hours 13 min ago view
  • from rotoworld...

    "Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports reports Chris Sale was sent home from U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday after cutting up throwback jerseys that he did not want to wear.

    crunch 12 hours 20 min ago view
  • I thought the same. It'd be great luck to face these non-contenders after the trade deadline.

    Charlie 14 hours 3 min ago view
  • ...why isn't j.lucroy playing for TEX yet?

    :(

    2r HR on a 12-pitch AB.

    crunch 14 hours 37 min ago view
  • nathan to join the cubs tomorrow.

    crunch 15 hours 11 min ago view
  • Wow in deed.

    Rob Richardson 15 hours 15 min ago view
  • FOX Sports @MLBONFOX
    Chris Sale was scratched from tonight's scheduled start due to a clubhouse incident before the game

    ...wow

    he was sent home by the team, too. the wsox released a press statement and everything. they stated it was non-physical in nature.

    crunch 15 hours 20 min ago view
  • He was scratched from his start today. No reason given.

    Rob Richardson 15 hours 25 min ago view
  • At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.

    johann 16 hours 29 min ago view
  • sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.

    he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.

    crunch 18 hours 24 min ago view
  • Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?

    "The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."

    John Beasley 18 hours 37 min ago view
  • Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.

    Charlie 19 hours 8 min ago view
  • seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.

    crunch 19 hours 23 min ago view
  • I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.

    Charlie 23 hours 17 min ago view