Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez brings larger than life presence to Cleveland

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 07: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on October 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 07: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on October 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Swimming to superstardom

Still looking to take his game to the next level, in 2017 and 2018, Baez introduced fans to the swim move. Already known for his prowess for stealing bases, the exciting youngster began diving head first and moving his lead arm and body away from the tag during his steals, while bring his far hand around the tag to reach base safely.

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Opponents couldn’t get a glove on him before he had already tagged with his other hand. Time after time, opposing managers asked for replays on those swim moves, only to lose the challenge and Baez gain another steal which contributed to his career-high 21 stolen bases in 2018.

The best thing about this guy is how his hitting has come around. His recent offensive showing, including a plethora of  home runs have helped a slumping Cubs offense leading up to the All-Star Break.

His 22 home runs is just one short of his season total in 2017 (23) and tracking to pass his career-high 34 home runs from last year.

But all this is just about Baez the player, not Baez the superstar. A quick look through the Chicago Cubs channel on Youtube shows us another side of El Mago.

At home with his family, Baez rides around his ranch feeding all his animals. The glitz is there but underneath is the family man who cares more about feeding his animals than sports cars.

It’s the same player who donates his time “coaching” children at a ProCamp in the Northwest suburbs. One of the most recent in June took place at Elk Grove High School for over 450 boys and girls from first through eighth grade.

This is part of Baez giving back to baseball by helping the next generation of kids learn the magic of baseball from the game’s greatest magician as explained by Christopher Placek of the Daily Herald:

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"“I grew up without this, man,” Baez said. “It’s incredible when you see kids that smile when they see you. It means a lot for them and it means a lot to me. The way that so many kids come out here for this, it’s really special for me.”"

Yep, sound like the Cubs have another ‘superstar’ to me.

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