ESPN 1000 recently asked Anthony Rizzo and a few other players for the Chicago Cubs if they wore cups on the field for protection, perhaps in light of Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder) getting “racked” by Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors) during their game on Monday night.
Rizzo said he doesn’t wear one.
“I don’t. It’s just not comfortable for me. I don’t think our infielders do.”
Anthony Rizzo’s first baseman position was pointed out by second baseman Ben Zobrist for the reason why he wouldn’t wear one, after quickly recovering from the shock, according to the write-up by ESPN.
“[Addison] Russell and Rizzo are willing to take that chance, much to the dismay of Zobrist, who was taken aback when he learned that his teammates to the left and right on the infield don’t wear cups.
“I’m surprised that neither of them do,” Zobrist said. “Rizzo? Whatever. You’re at first base, you have a big glove, OK. Addy [Russell] surprises me a little still.”
All of this makes sense as the reason why some of the latest reporting on Anthony Rizzo has been about his recent “slump” in these games.
Sadly for this novice, much of them amount to paragraph-after-paragraph of “insider baseball” talk, which only seems to get worst.
The same ESPN source recently wrote about Anthony Rizzo’s “slump,” just after they wrote great things about the team, when they were getting good in their streak, before they lost 4-3 to the Cardinals last Monday, a day before he was asked about protecting “the goods.”
The question at this point is, why does the slump matter?
Sure, the averages, ratings, and all the math are there on the baseball cards and it’s obviously systematic at this point and, therefore, difficult to fight against with so many people caring about his lows against his highs.
A good guideline, however, is within Baseball Prospectus Wrigleyville‘s article which also explains how he was going through a “thing” and, much like the statement from the Cub’s manager, has a sense that he’s going to get out of whatever “thing-slump” he’s going through.
That he doesn’t wear a cup tends to show that he’s pretty much fearless about whatever bad stuff could happen, while some of his teammates are the complete opposite.
And just to be sure, CSN Chicago focused on the first baseman’s charismatic character and fun personality, especially when he nonchalantly “sat down in a folding chair facing the table stacked with laptops and TV screens and joked with the Cubs staffers who coordinate the video/advance-scouting systems.”
From these articles, one can gather a sense of what his approach is to his professional career, when he’s balancing between willingly staying involved and in-the-moment, versus just riding out a good thing.
“Early on (in a career), you get a couple hits off (guys like that) and you’re all excited. Well, the next day you’re facing Jon Lester, so you got to re-amp. It’s not easy to do, but if you just stay at that one level, you’ll be all right.”
And on this “slump” thing everyone seems to be going on about, Chicago Cubs have apparently been riding high and so there’s room for some lulls.
As a matter of fact, they’ve recently made a bit of a comeback in a short amount of time, with Anthony Rizzo’s help, judging from a write-up in the Chicago Sun Times from a reporter who’s really anticipating more hot streaks.
“A leadoff double for Dexter Fowler. A run-scoring base hit by Kris Bryant. A single from Anthony Rizzo. A pair of walks for Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler. Back-to-back two-out, two-run doubles by David Ross and pitcher Jason Hammel.”
Yeah, and that’s not nothing!
So no one is breathing down Anthony Rizzo’s neck about these issues the Cubs appear to be having, and especially since he’s confident enough to go cup-less, he’s confident enough to know that slump isn’t going to last for long.