Cubs

Cubs' Rizzo, Bryant soak in thrilling Home Run Derby experience

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Cubs' Rizzo, Bryant soak in thrilling Home Run Derby experience

CINCINNATI - Neither Anthony Rizzo nor Kris Bryant made it out of the first round of the Home Run Derby Monday night.

Neither of them cared.

At 25 and 23, respectively, Rizzo and Bryant were competing in their first Home Run Derby and they were just happy to take part in the festivities.

"It was so much fun," Bryant said. "I mean, I went up against Albert Pujols, who's had a Hall of Fame career. I have nothing but good things to say about tonight."

[RELATED - Cubs' Anthony Rizzo gets start at DH in All-Star Game]

Rizzo had the misfortune of going first in this year's new timed format. The Cubs first baseman hit eight homers and was ousted by Toronto Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson.

Bryant hit nine homers, one less than Pujols, who hit his 10th right at the buzzer.

"I'm really happy I got one," Bryant joked. "I didn't want to be the guy that didn't get any."

The new format - and rain in the area - made for a sort of abbreviated event. Each player had four minutes to hit as many home runs as they could and if they hit two over 425 feet, they received a 30-second time bonus.

In past years, each player received 10 outs and there was no time limit.

"Swinging a bat for four minutes straight is tiring," Bryant said. "I didn't really think it'd be that tiring. I was exhausted at the end of it.

"[The format] is a little different. I guess it's less pressure. The 10 outs thing, you only have 10 outs to get anything done. But here, you can kinda swing away and get some hacks in. I think it's a pretty good format."

The format worked out well for Reds star Todd Frazier, who won it all in thrilling fashion in front of the hometown crowd.

Both Rizzo and Bryant loved the crowd's energy, feeling the excitement added to their own experience.

"I mean, it was a ton of fun," Rizzo said. "I really didn't know what to expect. ... You just have fun with it. Which is exactly what I did - I had fun and really enjoyed it and definitely a memory that's gonna last forever."

[SHOP CUBS: Get an Anthony Rizzo All-Star Game jersey right here]

Bryant said he and Rizzo didn't have any friendly wager between them for their first Derby.

"I did beat him," Bryant said smiling, "so I guess I can kinda brag now."

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...

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below: