Chicago Cubs News: Anthony Rizzo speaks out against playing into the winter

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizz o is open to playing in Arizona – but not for an entire season, for a variety of reasons he discussed on Friday.

For fans, there is plenty of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the future of the 2020 Major League Baseball campaign. Those same feelings are exponentially worse for players across the league, working to stay in game-ready shape without any real idea of when or if they’ll take the field again this year.

That’s no different for the Chicago Cubs. Per usual, unofficial team captain Anthony Rizzo offered some poignant thoughts when speaking with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, acknowledging that it’s been difficult, but openly acknowledging that for countless individuals and families, it’s far worse.

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"“I feel like I’m taking advantage of this time off, working out and getting everything where it needs to be. But it’s just so sad seeing people who can’t pay their rent, can’t pay their mortgages, people losing their jobs.”"

The interview covers an array of topics – and the site’s paywall is down on this particular piece, so it’s certainly worth the read if you’ve got a few minutes. But let’s pivot to baseball, the league’s proposals we’ve discussed in recent weeks and where Rizzo lands on all of it.

There are some great insights from overseas, where some baseball has resumed in the wake of COVID-19 impacting the region. For example, infrared cameras to detect body heat have been implemented in South Korea, allowing officials to ensure anyone with a fever (one of the primary symptoms associated with the virus) are not infecting others.

But, like he always does, Rizzo found a way to take this very big picture plan (potentially playing a season in Arizona and/or Florida, depending on the team) and put it in very digestible terms, namely how players could be impacted personally.

"“I think you’re going to have a hard time telling grown men with established lives to stay in a hotel and not be with their families. You’re going to tell Kris Bryant that he’s not going to see his baby (born April 7) for 4 1/2 months?”"

Rizzo, who has faced his share of health battles in the past as a cancer survivor, wants player safety put above all else – and rightfully so. At a time when much of the country is locked down or, at the very least implementing social distancing measures, that can and should be top of mind for all of us.

He makes some valid points. What if a superstar like Javier Baez contracts the virus if this plan comes to fruition? Obviously, the league would face harsh criticism if something like this were to happen. The logistics are overwhelming, to be honest, if one considers all the moving parts that would have to come together to see this plan play out in the weeks and months to come. But at the end of the day, players love the game – and want to play.

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"“But we all want to play. I talk to our guys every day. We want to be playing baseball. It’s great being home. But it’s a lot better being in the clubhouse and playing baseball.”"

Will they get the opportunity? No one knows. But we can all hope.