Just like that Cubs baseball matters again. Now that may offend some of the faithful that have been watching regardless, but now it simply matters more. Believe me, I’ve been one of those watching and it has been painful. Last night the Cubs record was flashed on the screen and I had a hard time recalling the 26 wins.
We don’t want to put too much on the Anthony Rizzo arrival but last night he simply put a smile on Cubs fans faces. It seemed to be just as much about his presence as his two hits and his play at first. Rizzo flashed that reassuring confident smile and claimed he was “Here to stay”. You could feel the buzz back at Wrigley.
This time it was different buzz, there was a sense of relief and promise instead of overhype. Cubs fans are being hopeful that this is the start of the real rebuilding, the phase with the hope. We will soon be able to see the end of that painful biding of time that marked the first 3 months of the season.
You can see some light at the end of the tunnel. The arrival of Rizzo gives Cubs fans a reason to turn back on the television and read the stories again. Yes we already had Starlin Castro to watch, but it’s hard to deny that there is something more charismatic and leadership-like about Rizzo.
There were Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod all there to see his debut. I even thought it was interesting to hear some of the vets on the team talk in excitement about Rizzo’s arrival.
There will be some ups and downs to this Rizzo thing; he seems to have made some adjustments (lower hands, shorter swing). Truth be told it was the right thing for the Cubs to wait this long, he seems as ready as possible. If he had gone 0-4 it would have felt different, but he didn’t. He looked comfortable and his GM says, "go ahead, get excited."
"He's going to have his ups and down, he's going to have to make adjustments," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "All players have to do that. I love the fact that people are excited. To me, it gives hope. You want to have a lot of players like this. Fans love homegrown players more than anything because they relate to them in the minor leagues and they know they can root for them for a long time."
Everyone involved was desperate for a breath of fresh air. Last night we got it.