Before the season, Anthony Rizzo put the target on his back when he predicted the Cubs would win the National League Central.
Eight months later, the target was still on his back as the Cardinals ignited a beanball war with the Cubs Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field by throwing at Rizzo.
Rizzo has walked the walk after talking the talk and he didn't hold back when asked about the incident with the Cardinals.
"Obviously at that moment, I want to kill someone because I know it was intentional," Rizzo said. "At the moment, you wanna go out and strangle someone.
"But it's not necessary right now, especially the position we're in. We have a good opportunity to put a lot of pressure on Pittsburgh."
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Rizzo didn't actually try to strangle anybody in Friday's game. He walked toward the mound after getting hit in the leg, but things didn't escalate any further.
Joe Maddon was fired up in his postgame press conference and Rizzo appreciated that his manager had his back.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn't get into a war of words with Maddon.
"Do what you gotta do," Matheny said before Saturday's game. "That's what it comes down to. He knows what he's doing. He's been doing it way longer than I have. ... He's gonna do what he feels is right for his club."
Maddon, Rizzo and Friday's pitcher Dan Haren all reinforced the point that the Cubs clearly weren't throwing at Matt Holliday on purpose and Rizzo even said it was "scary" to see the Cardinals slugger get hit in the head.
Haren - who came up in the St. Louis system and understands "The Cardinals Way" - warned Rizzo he might get thrown at later in the game.
"They felt the need to throw at me - whatever," Rizzo said. "I think sometimes teams overreact when people get hit. You guys have seen me get hit 29 times this year and we've not thrown at one person.
"There have been other issues where we felt teams were intentionally throwing at me, as well. Sometimes teams take care of things different ways. I don't want anybody to get hurt."
Rizzo joked that he's only one hit-by-pitch away from joining the 30-30 club (he also has 30 homers). The Cubs' MVP candidate said he thinks beanball retaliation will continue to be a part of the game, even though Maddon ripped the outdated way of thinking.
"I don't make the rules," Rizzo said. "It's been going on forever. I don't see it going anywhere. We play the Cardinals, Pirates, Brewers and Reds 19 times a year. Guys get sick of each other."
The Cubs went on to beat the Cardinals Friday and moved to within six games of the division lead and one game of the wild card lead after the Pirates lost to the Dodgers.
For the Cubs, this issue is over. They're focused on the standings, not igniting a beanball war.
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"As far as I'm concerned, that's over with," Maddon said. "Keeping with the mantra, I want us to play well on Saturday. It's all about today. I said what I wanted to say [Friday].
"It's time to move on. Just play some good, solid baseball. We've been doing that for a bit. I just want our guys to keep doing what they have been doing.
"Our concern is still to catch them - the Pirates first and Cardinals second. We still have time to do that."