Cubs landed Seiya Suzuki, in part, due to his impressions of Chicago

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

On Thursday night, Seiya Suzuki finally looked human, striking out three times and expanding the strike zone in a 4-3 Cubs loss to the Pirates. Still, his first two weeks with Chicago have been otherworldly. He even brought home National League Player of the Week honors to get the season started.

Signed to a five-year deal this offseason, Suzuki will be a staple on the North Side for years to come. But what, exactly, prompted the superstar Japanese outfielder to choose the Cubs? Apparently, he and his wife loved Chicago when they visited – and that was enough to seal the deal and prevent visits to any other prospective suitors’ cities.

Reminded of where they’d lived in Tokyo – very much an urban environment – they were impressed with the city, especially Michigan Ave. and State St., as well as the high-rises in Gold Coast. That, paired with the legacy and reputation of the organization, was a winning combination.

Andrew Baggarly over at The Athletic (subscription required) has an amazingly in-depth look at the Cubs’ pursuit of Suzuki – and how the team wound up locking him up, despite coming off a 91-loss year in which they traded away almost their entire core group of players.

Yu Darvish raved about his time with the Cubs when he spoke to Suzuki, too, specifically mentioning the city, fans and the unique schedule the team has (day games at Wrigley) – so it certainly didn’t hurt matters to have the 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up in the Cubs’ corner, either.

We heard, multiple times, throughout the offseason that the Giants had their sights set on Suzuki, and that seems to be true. Had the visit to Chicago not gone as well as it did, San Francisco was to be the next visit. Instead, Suzuki signed with the Cubs and the Giants were left with nothing to show but a narrow miss on a top free agent target.

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As for the Cubs and Suzuki, the marriage is off to as good a start as can be expected. Despite a lack of supporting cast, the outfielder has quickly become must-see TV, showcasing an insane plate discipline and work ethic that led teammate Willson Contreras to call him ‘the best’ player he’s ever played with. Here’s to hoping five years from now, it’s still all roses.