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 "clubbie" 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 clubbie 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.
Cubster 34 min 18 sec ago (view)
speaking of Trump's trained rats...
Hagsag 7 hours 3 min ago (view)
Cubster, your comments about President Bone Spurs could not be more accurate. Thanks for posting!
BobbyD 18 hours 9 min ago (view)
Cubster: I agree with your comments, save one. That the president is "leading" America. He couldn't lead a pack of rats to a NYC dumpster on an August afternoon. The "man" is a f'ing disgrace.
crunch 20 hours 27 min ago (view)
though the team cheaped out on this offseason (still an overall top-tier payroll), i was at least looking forward to seeing the beginning of the david ross era...and who was going to win the 2nd base job...
nothing about 2020 baseball feels legit anymore. just hearing the players talk about it, you'd think they were organizing a casual pickup game for charity at an inconvient time and place...doesn't seem like they're really stoked about it.
Cubster 21 hours 36 min ago (view)
June 1st is a week from tomorrow. Given 5 weeks of spring training before starting (July 4th?), the season is on the brink of going bye-bye. It's bad enough in 2020 to be losing prime career years for Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, let alone Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks, and Willson Contreras. If one of them gets coronavirus, loses lung capacity, and alters their career arc, Cub fans will for a long time have a bitter taste in their mouths. All for, at best, a bizarre half-season without fans watching in the ballparks.
Alexander Dimm 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG: I've been following this all spring and I fully agree. Let's not risk the health of these ballplayers. Let's plan for 2021 an be done with 2020. I know that whole game will be changed next year but it's already morphing now. Just start with a clean slate. I don't want scientists watching baseball when they should be working on a vaccine.
Hagsag 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
I love baseball as much as anyone, but I cant see this working. Put the 2020 season on the shelf and plan for 2021.
crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
i still don't understand how any of this retains momentum if a team has an outbreak...
it seems like that would put a pause on things not only effecting the team with the outbreak, but the schedule and future opponents...and past opponents who recently played the team with an outbreak...
if it gets started, hopefully it can roll to end without going off the rails. it all seems so fragile with a lot of moving pieces.
CubbyBlue 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
I wish I felt better about the possibility of baseball this year. All those details - it just seems like something's not going to work. And to me the worst thing that could happen is they get started and 2 weeks later have to shut it down, then try to start it up again.
Baseball's role this summer is meant to uplift, and that scenario feels soul-crushing.
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
add the bjays to the list...
whatever works to get people paid.
crunch 2 days 20 hours ago (view)
"Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Brewers will keep their baseball operations staff intact for all of 2020.
There will be no furloughs and only top executives in the organization will take pay cuts."
2020 has officially crossed the line now...making me like the brewers...
seriously though, it's about time some of these 100s-millionaire to billionaire owners acted like this.
brewers, wsox, cards, and twins have all promised full pay for employees through june+ (and maybe longer when revisited)
crunch 4 days 18 hours ago (view)
the "slow opening" seems to be starting up this weekend and into next week for a variety of clubs...whether it's the ballpark or training facitlies. most all of the player access seems to be limited to those on the 40-man and nothing mandatory.
nothing for the cubs yet (that i've heard about). chicago is still a bit "hot" but AZ is open for sports...
crunch 1 week 22 hours ago (view)
i can't speak for this or all of the US, but my state govt level safety committee reports kinda shape up like this...and this aggregated view stated below is my own...
we're still technically short for how all pieces of the testing scheme interact with each other on whole, but it's catching up and should be rolling smoothly for a task like this (seems to be a dedicated lab for all MLB) by the time the season is proposed to start.
Hagsag 1 week 1 day ago (view)
They plan on testing 10.000 per week? I thought we were short of tests.
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
i would be surprised to see this go start-to-finish without some kind of stupid drama. it's not that covid is gonna kill a gazillion people while they bleed from their eyes or something...it's that it's so easy to pass it others. if you find one guy positive, chances are pretty high he's taking down a handful of others with him even if they're all good to go in a couple weeks and feel fine during that downtime.
Craig A. 1 week 1 day ago (view)
This is going to be full of surprises. Young players who don't feel that bad may be angry that they can't play. A team may loose several players at once. They'll need a taxi squad that doesn't practice with the main team. Even the best plan can't prepare teams for every possibility.