Chicago Cubs: “C” or not, Anthony Rizzo embodies Cubs captaincy

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Among Cubs greats

Rizzo is currently the longest-tenured Cub. He struggled like prospects and up-and-comers often do. He flashed brilliance in some areas and refined weaknesses into strengths. The prospect in Rizzo saw the Cubs in some of their worse years. Together, team and prospect blossomed, forming a robust tandem. For both, a promise that turned to stardom.

He was there, in Cincinnati, July 10, 2014, when future World Series teammate — just two years later — Aroldis Chapman, nearly plunked Nate Schierholtz with a 101, and then, 100-mph pitch, and Rizzo was there at the dugout steps visibly displeased.

To put it mildly.

In the moment, benches cleared. But when you look back on that day, more stands out from that moment of hostility. It was the day Rizzo and the Cubs shed their doormat status. Wins and losses are deceiving, but the teams’ heart was there.

Into the offseason, the Cubs made headlines, bringing in another former Boston connection, as Jon Lester latched on for six years. Rizzo boldly predicted a division title for Chicago, and as the Cubs came off a last-place, 73-win season, and the Cardinals were constant favorites, I doubt many people expected the Cubs to win the Wild Card that season with 97 wins.

And knock out those Cardinals come October.

Obviously, we know, the rest is history. Rizzo caught the final out to cement the Cubs in baseball lore one year later. Chapman on the mound for Chicago, just an inning prior.