Cubs

Charles Barkley and Joe Maddon understand Ryan Howard's frustration with Philly fans

Charles Barkley and Joe Maddon understand Ryan Howard's frustration with Philly fans

PHILADELPHIA — What would Charles Barkley do? There’s an easy answer to that hypothetical question, how Sir Charles would have responded if a fan threw a beer bottle at him, the way someone targeted fading Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.

“I’d have kicked his ass, personally,” Barkley told reporters before the Cubs beat up the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. The Cubs had a six-run lead in the ninth inning before the Phillies rallied late, with Howard pinch-hitting against closer Hector Rondon and making the last out in a 6-4 game that didn’t feel that close.

Barkley — who once got arrested for throwing a guy through a bar window during his Hall of Fame career and has become a must-watch personality on TNT’s NBA coverage — knows the pressure of playing in this city after eight seasons with the 76ers. Philadelphia police are searching for the man who tossed the beer bottle after Howard made the final out in Saturday’s loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Very disappointed,” Barkley said. “I wish that — to be honest — Ryan could get his hands on him and beat the hell out of him. That would be the appropriate response.

“But that’s the one thing I could tell you about Philadelphia, man. It’s a great city, great fans, very passionate. But there’s always going to be a couple bad apples. The majority of the fans here appreciate what Ryan has brought to the table.

“Just giving (that fan) a little warning or a ticket really doesn’t do that situation justice.

“That’s not punishment. I’ve always believed: Get him in the batting cage for 15 minutes, and whatever happens, happens.”

Barkley actually got in the cage and took some swings against Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode during batting practice. Barkley also held court in manager Joe Maddon’s office inside the visiting clubhouse, mingling with Cubs players and staffers before the game.

The Phillies are a franchise in transition, with ex-Cubs executive Andy MacPhail installed as president, a multibillion-dollar TV deal with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia in place and the No. 1 overall pick and more than $13 million to spend in this week’s amateur draft.

This is a surprising 28-30 team fighting to defy the odds and stay in contention, guided by manager Pete Mackanin, the Brother Rice High School graduate who interviewed for the Cubs job that went to Dale Sveum, playing across the street from where the 76ers made tanking their organizational blueprint.

But Howard — a homegrown Rookie of the Year/MVP winner who helped the Phillies beat Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series — now symbolizes that window slamming shut. Howard is hitting .150 with 53 strikeouts through 162 plate appearances in the final guaranteed season of a five-year, $125 million extension that became an albatross.

“The guy’s been a great, great player, brought this city a world championship, made them relevant for X-amount of years,” Barkley said. “And regardless of whatever happens, he deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.”

Maddon grew up about two hours northwest of Philadelphia in Hazleton, a blue-collar city in Pennsylvania’s faded coal-mining region, and heard about the Howard incident.

“It just speaks to: What are you thinking?” Maddon said. “I went through a bad moment here in the World Series in 2008 with the Rays, so I know how the people can be down here.

“I’m from the state. I hung out with these guys. So I know when you get over-served at a baseball game, you have a tendency — especially around here — to act out.”

With a camera in his face and surrounded by microphones, Maddon wouldn’t get into what he heard in South Philly during the 2008 World Series.

“I can’t repeat it,” Maddon said. “Honestly, I can’t repeat (what was said) to my granddaughter in a bathroom. It was really bad ... really, really bad.”

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...