Chicago Cubs need Anthony Rizzo to lead and help create new identity

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Mind over matter for the Chicago standout

After spraining his ankle in a brutal injury while fielding a bunt late in the year, the three-time All-Star did the impossible. He returned three days later – from what was initially labeled a season-ending injury. Not only did he return, he hit .400/.429/.600 over his final six games before the team officially shut him down for the year.

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"“You get the questions of waiting a couple more days, but we don’t have a couple more days,” Rizzo said upon his return. “We gotta win now. And I love this team…I love playing. That’s what I want to do. It’s what I love doing — playing baseball, especially for this team that we’re fighting at Wrigley Field in late September to go to the playoffs and that’s where all the magic happens.”"

It’s that mentality – the ‘take nothing for granted’ attitude the Chicago Cubs have lacked since winning it all three years ago. Gone is the hunger to prove themselves.

Winning, at times, seemed like something that was taken for granted. It’s hard to combat that, especially after making four consecutive postseason runs, including a trio of NLCS appearances. But after a lackluster 84-win season that saw the team fall flat in September, that string of winning is now a thing of the past.

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Rizzo is the guy to lead such an effort. Ross will look to change the clubhouse culture in his first year at the helm and he’ll need his former teammate to be his right-hand man and hold people accountable through thick and thin.