Chicago Cubs: The Return of the Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All-Time
In the midst of a four-game winning streak that had the Cubs still well within contention on September 16, Anthony Rizzo had his ankle fold under him while trying to field a bunt. That hard charge on a bunt is something Cubs fans have gotten used to celebrating as Rizzo has become the best first baseman in baseball in terms of taking away bunts. Unfortunately, this time, the grass and his cleat didn’t mix too well, as his foot folded under him.
In hindsight, this moment pretty much signaled the end of the Cubs season as they proceeded to win just three games and lose 10 over the last 13 contests of the season. That being said, we didn’t have the gift of hindsight at that point and Rizzo still made one last-ditch effort to inspire his boys to a late season surge.
Rumblings and whispers started emanating from the Internet about Rizzo possibly returning to the lineup for the opener of a huge four-game set against the Cardinals that everyone knew would probably decide the fate of the NL Central. Then, as if sent from Mount Olympus itself, Rizzo appeared during pregame warm-ups on the field doing some jogging, sprints, and looking ready to inspire his club to victory.
He hit lead-off just three days after a gruesome ankle injury that was supposed to keep him out for at least a week (and had him wheeling around on a fancy scooter and doing his best cheerleader act in the dugout).
The Cubs ended up losing that game 5-4, and every other game in the series by one run; however, Rizzo did hit a bomb in his second at-bat. Rizzo was 7-for-14 in the series, but scored just the one run (on the home run) despite being on base eight times in the four games.
Whether that was due to an offensive offense or Rizzo’s hobbled ankle depended on the moment, but the bottom line is that the Hollywood-scripted moment didn’t work out so well for the Cubs.