Rivalries aren’t like they used to be. Now that I sound ancient, listen to me, it’s true. The old Yankees/ Red Sox showdowns were, and still but not to the same extent, heated exchanges that brought some of the best and the worst in players. Today is different. There are much more teams and sometimes, even though the Pirates/Cubs have been playing each other for years, the rivalry is based on one particular incident.
Anthony Rizzo. The slide felt around Pittsburgh. Yesterday, MLB ruled he blocked the catcher from making the throw. Last night, North Side’s famed first baseman was booed at PNC every time he stepped to the plate. The Cubs came from behind to win 8-6. To add insult to injury, Rizzo punched a ball deep and a fan caught but not before it was ruled a home run.
“They tried,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the Pirates’ fans. “When you create rules like this and a player just plays hard and well, a fan base is going to get the wrong impression. Most people will tell you what they’ve heard and not what they think. That’s always my concern. The moment it happened, it was one of my biggest concerns last night was that ‘Riz’ would be looked at in an unfavorable way.”
It sure did look like the fan was leaning over the rails just a bit to make the grab and Rizzo got away with another one. My favourite part of the game is the debates. Despite replays and reviews, baseball will always be a debatable game. Did he make the grab? Was his foot on or off the bag? It’s an honourable game and sometimes things happen, last night the Cubs were lucky.
Rizzo and the Cubs are on a good streak and dare I say, playing some good ball.
“You feel more relaxed,” Rizzo said about being on a good streak. “That’s the biggest key of anyone is being more relaxed. The preparation is pretty much the same, same drills beforehand, same video work. Balls are falling in. I’m probably gripping the bat a little less tighter than I was a couple weeks ago.”
But we’re Cubs fans—Shhh