Cubs

Cubs-Cardinals: Albert Almora Jr. reminds Joe Maddon of Jim Edmonds with Gold Glove-level defense

Cubs-Cardinals: Albert Almora Jr. reminds Joe Maddon of Jim Edmonds with Gold Glove-level defense

ST. LOUIS — When Joe Maddon designed the "D-Peat" T-shirt, the Cubs manager had moments like this in mind: Albert Almora Jr. leaping at Busch Stadium's center-field wall to make a leaping, game-changing catch.

"Yesterday was my mother's birthday," Almora said at his locker after Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. "I told her: 'Hey, I'll hit you a homer.' (And then) I said: 'I didn't hit you one, but I robbed you one.' She thought it was pretty funny and she loved it."

Almora kept his left arm in the air, pumped his fist and screamed after stealing that home run from Matt Adams and bailing out reliever Koji Uehara in the seventh inning. The highlight-reel play showed why the Cubs chose Almora with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, trusted a rookie on their World Series roster and didn't stress about Dexter Fowler signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Cardinals.

Before the game, Maddon saw Jim Edmonds, the eight-time Gold Glove outfielder he once worked with in the Angels organization. Maddon had a message for Edmonds, who is now part of the Cardinal broadcast team: "Almora reminds me of you."

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"Jimmy wasn't the fastest guy," Maddon said. "Albert's not the fastest guy. They both run great routes and they had a great nose/instinct for the ball, when to jump, when to get to the wall, how to get to the wall. He got to the wall perfectly right there, meaning he didn't have his butt up against the wall. He was sideways where he could actually jump.

"Hopefully, (Jimmy) stuck around to see that play."

In case Edmonds missed it, Almora went viral for a team that makes plays like that look routine on a nightly basis.

"We love defense," Almora said. "We base our organization on defense. 'D-Peat' is the way we say it, and it goes to show."

Cubs chairman Tom Rickets gave David Ross the coolest decoration for his office

Cubs chairman Tom Rickets gave David Ross the coolest decoration for his office

There are cool office decorations, and their office decorations that blow casual ones out of the water.

A souvenir in Cubs manager David Ross' Wrigley Field falls into the latter category.

Ross posted photos on Instagram Saturday revealing he has the first W flag to hang over Wrigley after the Cubs won the 2016 World Series in his office. He says team chairman Tom Ricketts gave it to him for the office.

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Now, imagine what that flag would go for on eBay.

All jokes aside, you've got to think that flag will end up in some Cubs museum one day. For now, it's in safe hands.

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2020 MLB season: Tracking players who have opted out or declined to play

2020 MLB season: Tracking players who have opted out or declined to play

With Major League Baseball attempting to play the 2020 season with COVID-19 afflicting the nation, players have the option to not participate this year. 

Those considered “high-risk” for the coronavirus — per MLB’s agreement with the MLBPA — can opt out and receive salary and service time. Those who are not can decline to play but may not receive salary and service time. Teams may offer both to players who live with high-risk individuals, however.

Here is a running list of players who will sit out this season:

Mike Leake — Diamondbacks pitcher

On June 29, Leake became the first player to announce he will sit out. His agent said he and his family took “countless factors into consideration.” MLB insider Jon Heyman said the right-hander will not be paid this season, meaning he doesn’t fall under the high-risk designation.

Leake was positioned to compete for a spot in Arizona’s rotation and will become a free agent if they decline his $18 million 2021 option.


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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross 

Zimmerman joined Leake in announcing his decision on June 29. The longtime National cited family circumstances — three kids, including a newborn, and his mother being high-risk. He made it clear he is not retiring, but he's set to become a free agent after this season.

On the same day Zimmerman announced his decision, the Nationals revealed Ross also decided not to play. The club’s statement cited “the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones” in both players’ decisions. Ross is arbitration eligible through 2021.


Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond

Desmond also revealed he won’t play this year on June 29. He posted a powerful Instagram message discussing racial inequality in baseball, from Little League to MLB. It’s heartfelt and worth a read:

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On my mind.

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Free agent pitcher Tyson Ross 

On July 2, Heyman reported Ross joined his brother Joe in deciding not to play. Tyson Ross was with the Giants and in contention for a swingman job before San Francisco released him in late June, shortly after MLB lifted its transaction freeze.


Nationals catcher Welington Castillo

Castillo became the third Nationals player to decide to sit out. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said on July 3 the former Cubs and White Sox catcher was hesitant to play because he has young children.


Dodgers pitcher David Price

Price announced on July 4 he will be sitting out this year, saying it’s in the “best interest of my health and my family’s health.” He joined Los Angeles over the offseason in a trade from the Red Sox with Mookie Betts.

Prior to his decision, Price donated $1,000 to every Dodgers minor leaguer in June.


Braves pitcher Félix Hernández

Hernández' agent announced on July 4 the former Cy Young Award winner will sit out this year. Hernández was vying for a spot in Atlanta’s rotation. 


Braves outfielder Nick Markakis

Markakis announced his decision to sit out on July 6. He said his family, as well as teammate Freddie Freeman contracting a rough case of COVID-19, influenced his thinking.

“Just to hear him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough, it was kind of eye-opening,” Markakis said of Freeman.


Pirates pitcher Héctor Noesí

The Pirates revealed on July 8 Noesí elected not to play for family reasons. He was on a minor league deal.


Giants catcher Buster Posey

Posey, the Giants longtime backstop and three-time champion, revealed Friday he won’t be playing this year. The 33-year-old and his wife recently adopted premature twin girls.

White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech

The White Sox announced Friday evening Kopech will not play this year. The 24-year-old hadn’t arrived at Summer Camp due to personal reasons prior to Friday’s news.

MORE: White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech decides not to participate in 2020 season

"Michael Kopech has informed us of his decision to not participate in the 2020 season," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. "We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive.

"We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season."

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