Chicago Cubs: North Siders making the most of All-Star break

Jul 11, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; National League pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) of the Chicago Cubs with son Cooper Arrieta during the All Star Game home run derby at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; National League pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) of the Chicago Cubs with son Cooper Arrieta during the All Star Game home run derby at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Chicago Cubs were struggling day-after-day, it was revealed that seven members of the franchise made it to the All-Star game. They currently make up the majority of tonight’s starting lineup and have made the most of the trip thus far.

As we all know, before the annual All-Star game, fans, players, and celebrities come together the day before and have a little fun. Legends of the game even show up to participate in the Celebrity Softball game.

Not to mention the Future’s Game which features the best prospects from almost every team in the league. We’re able to get a glimpse of what’s to come within two to four years. Very exciting to watch.

Last season, the Chicago Cubs sent out Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant — two men who not only made the National League roster but participated in the Home Run Derby as well.

Neither men took the opportunity at their shot at redemption, leading the way for guys such as Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Duvall, Mark Trumbo (just to name a few), to launch bombs.

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Before this year’s derby kicked off, San Diego Padres legend Dave Winfield tossed out the first pitch to former San Diego Toreros player and current Chicago Cubs third baseman, Kris Bryant.

Bryant was all smiles after bringing in the pitch, handing the ball over to Winfield before returning to the sea of fellow players and a mix of their children. Which brings us to ace right-hander, Jake Arrieta.

Now Arrieta has hit a bump in the road but he is, in fact, still the ace of this first place Chicago Cubs team. Even though teammate and fellow National League All-Star has pitched fairly well or even better than his first year as a member of the Cubs.

At one point, Arrieta was shown on television with David Ortiz holding and talking to one of his young sons. Arrieta and his boys sat on the ground down the third base line and watched as each competitor hammered pitch-after-pitch out to the deepest parts of Petco Park.

In the end, it was Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton who would walk away as the champion despite being snubbed from the roster. At least he was able to fly out and dethrone last year’s winner, Todd Frazier, in front of what he considered his hometown fans since he’s from Southern California.

Seeing each member of the Cubs enjoying themselves was a bit of a relief considering the slump they have been in since starting out the year with the best record in all of baseball. Arrieta (12-4, 2.68 ERA), who pitched his second career no-hitter earlier on in the year, was thought to be the starter for tonight’s game.

But when speaking with reporters, Arrieta said, “We’ve scuffled the past couple weeks. The break is coming at a really good time.” And even went on to admitting that he wasn’t disappointed in not being named the starter, that he’s realistic and knows that his previous three starts were poor.

Also, he pitched on Friday and is expected to start once the Crosstown Rivalry with the Chicago White Sox is renewed next week. That gives Terry Collins a green light to send Jon Lester out to the mound.

Speaking of players who may not participate in tonight’s game, outfielder Dexter Fowler decided to skip out but appeared before the media alongside his teammates.

It was great to see Fowler and hear him discuss his return to baseball after he was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain back on June 18. His words were, “I weighed my options. The fact that they would have to activate me and then I would have to play on Friday was the unknown. I’d be selfish to run out there for one game and then not know if I could play on Friday.” Fowler told the media as reported by

It’s a bummer that he had to sit out this year but there’s a very good chance that he’ll be named to another All-Star game in 2017. The only question is, will it be with the Chicago Cubs? They have Albert Almora up and there’s no telling what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will decide.

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For right now, all we can do is focus on tomorrow. And that’s exactly what Dexter Fowler is doing. Dexter later spoke about his return and mentioned that he is progressing well and has suffered no setbacks that would delay his return. He also stated that he’s anxious.

Believe me, Dexter, we’re anxious for your return as well. Yet, despite having their lead in the National League Central shrink from 12 plus games down to seven, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Addison Russell, and Dexter Fowler have been smiling brightly.

Can’t wait to see them take the field along with the rest of the stars of this league. Most importantly, when they return to Wrigley Field this Friday.