Rizzo and Bryant setting the tone for the future
With their participation in the 2015 Home Run Derby and this year’s All-Star game, the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are the personal ushers for a new era in Cubs baseball. Expectation. Winning. No more of the “every team has to have a player” for the Cubs. They’re going to have to find a way to keep them out. Jake Arrieta should have been in Cincinnati this week, but I digress.
It didn’t last long for either, four and a half minutes to be exact–but the experience for each of them at this stage in their respective careers is only going to fuel their drive to bring a winner to Chicago. They were on the grand stage, a Cubs team that for years has been a cellar dweller, representing a quarter of the field. And this indeed won’t be the last HR Derby for these two.
What, if any role these two play in tonight’s game is to be seen. Rizzo gets the start at DH, so he’ll get his action in early. The rookie Bryant could very well find himself in the action at a critical juncture, with a chance to shine back on those lights that have been on him since he arrived.
Rizzo feels like a seasoned vet but is still young in his career as well. He’s become a leader early on, and this experience is only going to help solidify his role in the clubhouse. And Bryant, while only a few short months into his career will benefit from being around some of the best players in the game.
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It may just be an All-Star appearance for two Cubs on the surface, but it’s more than that. It’s the expectation of being in the race all season. About sending more than just the mandatory one player to the midsummer classic. And it’s about those players helping win a game that will decide that Game seven of the World Series will be played at Wrigley and not somewhere else.
Last night’s HR Derby, tonight’s All-Star Game. No matter the results, the seeds will be planted in expectation for years to come. The Cubs aren’t looking to be the “loveable losers” anymore, or simply put up a good showing. It’s about winning. And that sounds just fine to me.