Cubs

Cubs-White Sox could use more Pedro Strop vs. Alexei Ramirez

8-15-pedro-strop-cubs.png

Cubs-White Sox could use more Pedro Strop vs. Alexei Ramirez

There’s no need to call baseball’s fun police and alert Bob Costas. Alexei Ramirez making the no-no-no gesture and Pedro Strop’s fist-pumping celebration probably says more about the state of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry.

There’s not enough buzz or raw emotions or in-your-face personalities. The city – or at least the Chicago media – got spoiled with Ozzie Guillen, Lou Piniella, A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Zambrano.

So roughly 24 hours later, people were still talking about how Strop felt like Ramirez showed him up during a key eighth-sequence in a one-run game the Cubs would hang on to win at U.S. Cellular Field.

“To me, it’s rather amusing, actually,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Saturday. “I don’t have any issue with it at all. If you’re the kind of guy that looks at that kind of stuff on the other side to get upset by – if you need that as motivation – then come on.

“Why do I need the other team to be exorbitant or extravagant in their celebration for me to become motivated? I don’t get that stuff. I’ve never been a bulletin-board guy. I’ve never been that guy to create my motivation.

“Your motivation has to come from within. And if anybody else has to provide it for you, then you’re really not the professional that you thought you were. So it’s a lot about nothing for me.”

[MORE: White Sox fine with Cubs' Pedro Strop's emotional celebration]

Whether Strop strikes out two White Sox in the eighth inning – or gets knocked out of the game – he routinely points to the sky and pounds his chest when he walks off the mound.

Like when Costas wondered if Strop was “asking some departed relative for forgiveness for this atrocious performance” after a meltdown against the St. Louis Cardinals on MLB Network.

Maddon wants the Cubs to feel loose and play with emotion and that identity will probably bother other teams. Maddon drew the line at Junior Lake pimping a home run at Marlins Park, shushing Miami’s dugout and sparking a bench-clearing incident.

“I know this year I did admonish Lake on the bat flip in Miami, only because I don’t want us to be that particular guy,” Maddon said. (That guy got traded to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Tommy Hunter at the July 31 deadline.)

“I think what Stropy did yesterday was just, like, natural. He’s jacked up. He wasn’t showing anybody up. He was excited for himself. That’s how I saw it.

“I think we’re way too touchy about things. I do like a lack of (celebration), like when you score a touchdown and just put the ball down. Hit a home run, put the bat down. I kind of like that. But if you don’t do that, it doesn’t bother me.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Robin Ventura – the low-key White Sox manager who played 16 years in the big leagues – didn’t have any issues with the back-and-forth between Strop and Ramirez.

“Everything has kind of evolved and changed,” Ventura said. “It used to be something (where) a guy would probably get hit. And that’s not necessarily how it is today. You see it all the time. I’ve seen worse than that. That’s just a guy who’s emotional.

“He’s in a tight spot and gets out of it – same as a guy who hits a homer and stands there for awhile and watches it…and then takes off running. (With) every position and every guy on the field, there’s a different level of what people think is acceptable and what’s not.”

For the record, Maddon seems to get a kick out of Ramirez, the Cuban shortstop he watched up close while managing the Tampa Bay Rays against the White Sox.

“He threw me a baseball before the game yesterday,” Maddon said. “I put my phone number on it and I threw it back to him. He does that stuff all the time.

“I love when he sits in the dugout smoking a cigar…God, I wish I could. He does a lot of cool things.”

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

1012_manny_machado.jpg
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: