Cubs

Cubs believe Jason Heyward’s offense can catch up to his Gold Glove defense

Cubs believe Jason Heyward’s offense can catch up to his Gold Glove defense

MILWAUKEE – Jason Heyward doesn’t look at WAR or Defensive Runs Saved or Ultimate Zone Ratings or really any of the metrics that have graded him out as one of the most valuable players in baseball.

Heyward doesn’t study spray charts and then decide where he should be positioned in right field. He doesn’t watch video to pick up tendencies and visualize game situations.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Heyward said. “I’m going out there playing the game of baseball the way I always have. Defense is something (where) you pay attention to the game, pay attention to who’s hitting, who’s pitching, things like that. I have a feel for what I need to do and what I can control. After that, just let the game happen.”

It’s all about instincts, accumulated experience, thinking on your feet and anticipating the next big moment for the three-time Gold Glove winner. It’s not about compartmentalizing the game and using defense to help you get through an offensive drought in the first season of an eight-year, $184 million megadeal.

It took 34 games and 153 plate appearances, but Heyward finally got his first home run in a Cubs uniform during the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Maybe now everything will click into place for a hitter manager Joe Maddon compared to Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.

"Molly really had very little or no movement prior to the pitch, and J’s kind of like that a little bit,” Maddon said. “There’s a little bit going on, but it’s kind of a static approach and he’s been very successful with it.

“I think part of his slow starts are just getting this rhythm and timing mechanism down. You just got to be patient with him, because I know watching him in (batting practice) everything looks really good. It’s just a matter of getting that thing started on time.”

Even if Heyward admitted he might have been pressing a little bit with the new contract – and still had his right wrist taped up on Wednesday afternoon, a lingering issue that can be traced back to early April – he also has a nine-game hitting streak and an on-base percentage hovering around .340.

“I just be myself,” Heyward said. “I know what I can bring on both sides of the baseball. I try and do that every night. If I’m not trying to do that, I’m not trying to help my team win. If I have to do something on the field, I’m going to do it, (whether) it’s taking an extra base or stealing (it) or playing defense or being a cheerleader in the dugout.

“We’re going to have ups and downs with hitting. It’s always going to happen.”

Heyward’s grinding approach to offense may never match quite his highlight-reel defense or the enormous expectations that followed him while coming up with the Atlanta Braves as Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect heading into the 2010 season. But this is also a self-aware self-starter who’s still only 26 years old.

“Timing, for me, is everything,” Heyward said. “Being on time at the plate helps you make better decisions, helps you get off better swings and gives yourself more chances to hit the ball hard.

“That’s something that I’ve always gotten better with as time goes (on). Understanding yourself is a big part of getting out of a slump or controlling slumps or minimizing them. Injuries (also) happen. But there’s no excuse. It’s just a part of the game. You can deal with it. You go out there every day with what you have and give it your best.”

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...