An unabashed Ian Happ appreciation piece from a Chicago Cubs fan

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

In a year that we as Chicago Cubs fans would definitely like to forget, the team has moved on from several guys we thought we could spend their entire careers in the Windy City. It’s gotten to the point where casual fans might not know seven of the nine guys that are listed on the lineup card any given day.

Names are becoming more familiar and we are adjusting to what everyday life is as a Cubs fan following the trade deadline. However, in the midst of all the uncertainty and unknowing, there has been one player in particular who maybe hasn’t had the best full year but is still giving it his all for this forgettable team. That player is Ian Happ.

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Happ was a first-round draft pick by the Cubs way back in 2015. He made his major league debut just two years later. On Opening Day 2018, he batted leadoff and hit the very first pitch to the second deck of what was then known as Marlins Park. He played in 142 games that year and batted .233.

In early 2019, he ended up being sent back to Triple-A Iowa to figure out some fundamentals with his swing and approach, much like Kyle Schwarber was the year prior. He eventually came back up and ended 2019 with a .264 batting average.

Last year, when the season was halted due to COVID-19, Happ started a podcast called The Compound with former teammates Zack Short and Dakota Mekkes, which they use as a platform to have real conversations with other baseball players about the game and life in general.

The Cubs outfielder also partnered with Connect Roasters to create a coffee blend called Quarantine Coffee for COVID relief. A portion of every sale goes toward COVID relief even today. Each pound of coffee sold is $1 donated to local and global organizations alike. Connect Roasters has set up something called the “Home Run Club.” Fans can subscribe to a monthly coffee subscription to the coffee, and every time Happ hits a home run, fans earn “Dinger Dollars” they can use to spend on coffee or merchandise.

Chicago Cubs: OK, let’s get down to it: it’s Ian Happ appreciation time

Happ is in the midst of his worst year (at the plate) as a major leaguer. As it stands today, he is batting just .198 with 15 homers and 38 RBI. It isn’t pretty, but you don’t have to tell him that. He knows.

It would have been so easy to throw in the towel and milk it into 2022, but this guy is not doing that. Since the beginning of August, his batting average has gone up by 21 points. Day-in and day-out he is in the lineup and out there with the Cubs logo on his chest giving it his all. He is also a guy that is team controlled for another two years, so he will be here (presumably).

Over the last two weeks? Happ has been red-hot, batting .357/.426/.738. In the last seven days, more of the same: .438/.526/.813. All this coming at a time when the team is going nowhere but down.

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Happ loves baseball and he loves Chicago. I, for one, also love him and love him playing baseball in Chicago. I believe in him and am confident the best is yet to come for Happ and the Cubs. This is a young team that I have been told is going to only get better and quickly. I believe Happ can and should be part of the next core of the great team on the North Side.