Cubs

Cubs World Series Parade and Rally on CSN

Cubs World Series Parade and Rally on CSN

For those of you who can't make it to Chicago, can't get out of work or are simply looking to avoid the crowd, CSN has you covered for Friday morning's Cubs World Series Parade and Rally.

For six straight hours, beginning at 6:30 a.m., CSN will be providing wall-to-wall coverage on the Celebration of the Century. Catch a replay of Cubs Postseason Live at 6:30, followed by the Cubs parade from Wrigley Field to Grant Park, where the team's rally will take place until 12:30 p.m.

Also, a reminder that if you aren't near a TV, CSNChicago.com will be streaming the Celebration of the Century.

6:30 a.m. -- David Kaplan, Todd Hollandsworth and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg took to the air after the final out and provided nearly three hours of postgame coverage. We're taking you back inside the locker room, on the field and everywhere in between with interviews from the players, Cubs legends like Kerry Wood, celebrities like Bill Murray, and front office members in Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Kelly Crull and Luke Stuckmeyer are taking you behind the scenes of Game 7, while Kaplan and Hollandsworth provide analysis on the biggest game in Cubs history.

9 a.m. -- The Celebration of the Century begins on CSN with host David Kaplan, who will be stationed at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park, the site of the rally. We'll also have Pat Boyle and Mark Schanowski reporting from the Cubs' bus departure at the Friendly Confines. Kelly Crull will be aboard one of the player buses to bring you a unique perspective, while other on-air talent including Luke Stuckmeyer, Leila Rahimi, Chuck Garfein and Chris Boden will be scattered about the parade route to provide more coverage.

6 p.m. -- You won't want to miss this one. Get your DVR ready as we replay Game 7 between the Cubs and Indians. Even though you know how it ends, we're willing to bet you get a little nervous in the bottom of the 8th inning.

And don't forget to check out all our Cubs coverage on CSN by clicking on our team page, or on the links below.

More on the World Series victory

--Finally: The Cubs are World Series champs

--The wait –and the weight- is over: Cubs fans celebrate World Series title

--Barack Obama congratulates Cubs World Series championship

--Famous Cubs fans celebrate World Series title on Twitter

--Ben Zobrist becomes first Cub ever to win World Series MVP

--Numbers game: statistical oddities of the Cubs World Series title

--Jed Hoyer: Rain delay was ‘divine intervention’ for Cubs

--Fans give Cubs a taste of home in Cleveland

--Ben Zobrist delivers exactly what the Cubs expected with massive World Series

--‘Dreams come true’: Bill Murray reacts to Cubs winning the World Series

--Big surprise: Kyle Schwarber plays hero again for Cubs in World Series Game 7

Ryne Sandberg: World Series ‘made it able for me to live in the present’

Albert Almora's strong connection to Team USA baseball

Albert Almora's strong connection to Team USA baseball

Who was Theo Epstein’s first draft pick with the Cubs?

The answer to that trivia question will always and forever be Albert Almora Jr. picked sixth overall in the 2012 amateur draft.

In some ways, the young outfielder from Florida became the forgotten man in the stable of can’t-miss prospects that Epstein and top lieutenants Jed Hoyer and Jason MacLeod amassed since their arrival over six years ago. While players such as Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ zoomed through the minor leagues on their way to the majors, Almora took a different path – one that included seven different stops over parts of five developmental seasons before he broke into the big leagues during the 2016 season.

But Almora’s road to the majors began years before he was selected by the Cubs, when he began playing for Team USA as a 13-year-old. Over the next several years, Almora played for the Red, White & Blue seven times, his final appearance coming in 2015. The seven appearances are the most in the history of USA Baseball, and Almora recognizes the impact his time with the national squad had on his playing career.

“[It was] one of the best experiences of my life," he said. "Every year I had something special to play with, unbelievable guys, went to crazy places, and out of those six years, five of them came with a gold medal so that was pretty special as well. Also, that helped me in my baseball life, how to experience things and learn from those type of experiences.

“I’m a Cubbie and that’s what’s on my chest right now, but Team USA will always have a special place in my heart.”

While Almora carries those national team experiences with him every day, his main focus coming into the 2018 season is becoming a consistent difference-maker. Almora made only 65 starts during the 2017 campaign, and 63 percent of his at-bats last year came against left-handed pitching, against which he hit a robust .342. That led to a platoon role in a crowded outfield, with Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay, Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist all taking turns on the merry-go-round. But with the departure of Jay, Almora believes his time is near.

“I have the most confidence in myself that I can play every day, but I try not to think about that kind of stuff because it’s out of my control," Almora said. "All I control is like last year what I did; whenever I was given an opportunity, I tried to do my best and help the team win.”

Almora’s ultimate role on the 2018 Cubs remains to be seen, but there’s no question that Theo’s first Cubs pick will earn whatever role he ends up with, and the foundation of Almora’s journey to Clark and Addison was laid many summers ago during his time with Team USA.

Willson Contreras willing to pay the price for mound visits

Willson Contreras willing to pay the price for mound visits

News broke to Willson Contreras that the league will be limiting mound visits this upcoming season, and the Cubs catcher —notorious for his frequent visits to the rubber — is not having it.

“I’ve been reading a lot about this rule, and I don’t really care. If you have to go again and pay the price for my team, I will," he said.

The new rules rolled out Tuesday will limit six visits —any time a manager, coach or player visits the mound — per nine innings. But, communication between a player and a pitcher that does not require them moving from their position does not count as a visit.When a team is out of visits, it's the umpire's discretion to allow an extra trip to the mound.

But despite the new rules, Contreras is willing to do what's best for the team.

“There’s six mound visits, but what if you have a tight game? They cannot say anything about that. If you’re going to fine me about the [seventh] mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”