Commentary: Thank you Captain


by - Staff Writer -
Rizzo was a fan favorite for his play on and off the field (Gary Vasquez - USA Today Sports)
Rizzo was a fan favorite for his play on and off the field (Gary Vasquez - USA Today Sports)

Thank you Captain,

Over the course of the last week, the Cubs have made a lot of emotional roster decisions that will shape the course of their future. One of the hardest to swallow moves came Thursday night, as the Cubs agreed to trade Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees for two prospects.

Anthony Rizzo was the heart and soul of the Chicago Cubs since his arrival in 2012 — and after 9 years of watching Rizzo turn into the player and the man he is today, saying goodbye was no easy task for Cubs fans.

When Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer arrived in Chicago after the 2011 season, Rizzo was the first domino to fall in terms of rebuilding the Cubs from the ground to an eventual championship contender. Rizzo’s presence helped to set the framework that changed the franchise's aura from lovable losers to expected winners — and the leader of the team, the captain was Rizzo.

While Rizzo donned the blue pinstripes, he provided an infinite amount of moments and memories that assured Cubs fans that not only was he the captain, but he was the new Mr. Cub — a title not given away lightly, but one Rizzo rightfully learned.

The Florida native became known for his consistency on and off the field. On the field, Rizzo had a stretch from 2014-2019 where he averaged over 30 homers and 100 RBIs, while always giving a professional at-bat. But the work Rizzo, a cancer survivor, did with his foundation and at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital is what truly displayed the character that Rizzo possessed. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation made countless efforts in the community to aid cancer patients, their families emotionally and monetarily and provide them with unique opportunities through the Cubs to forget about life for a while.

During his time in Chicago Rizzo won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016, a season in which he finished 4th in MVP voting and hit .292 with 32 homers and 109 RBIs — being named an All-Star in the middle and a Gold Glover after it. Rizzo caught the last out in that epic game seven as well. But Rizzo may be just as proud of the Roberto Clemente award he won in 2017, which highlights his character off the field, not just his excellence on it.

In parts of 10 seasons with the Cubs, Rizzo was named to three all-star teams, won four Gold Gloves, a platinum glove, appeared in the home run derby, won the Roberto Clemente Award, was a silver slugger, placed top-10 in MVP voting three times and of course, won the 2016 World Series. What Rizzo did in a Cubs uniform and for the city of Chicago will never be forgotten, so for that, Anthony, we say thank you.

Thank you for many things including:

-- The memorable catches along the tarp on the first base side

-- Your clutch home runs late in games

-- The toughness you displayed returning early from injury

-- Simultaneously being the best pitcher and the best leadoff hitter of all-time (look out Ohtani)

-- Your leadership

-- The way you played the game

-- Your relationship with your teammates

-- Your philanthropic, and inspiring efforts off the field

-- All of the home runs, RBIs, gold gloves, and spectacular plays

-- Your wide smile

-- Your massive part in the 2016 World Series Championship

-- Being the new era’s modern-day Mr. Cub

-- The memories

As emotional as Cubs fans are to say goodbye to players as impactful as Rizzo, and as hopeful, they are for a potential return. We wish him all the best with the New York Yankees and with whatever else is next.

Once again, thank you Anthony Rizzo!

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