Cubs

Dexter Fowler announced his return to Wrigley Field by rekindling his bromance with Anthony Rizzo

Dexter Fowler announced his return to Wrigley Field by rekindling his bromance with Anthony Rizzo

Forget Bryzzo.

The Anthony Rizzo-Dexter Fowler bromance took center stage at Wrigley Field Friday afternoon. 

They don't have a sweet nickname though. Maybe "Fowzo"? "Rizler"? "Dexzo"?

Either way, Rizzo and Fowler couldn't help but show their appreciation for each other Friday afternoon as they basked in the joy from their separate ring ceremonies.

The day after getting engaged, Rizzo gave out his second ring in a 24-hour span when he presented Fowler with the World Series bling in front of home plate roughly 23 minutes before Fowler deposited John Lackey's sixth offering deep into the right field bleachers.

Fowler knew Rizzo was proposing Thursday evening and after it happened, he texted the face of the Cubs and said, "Good thing you practiced giving out rings."

Rizzo and Kris Bryant — aka the second-most popular baseball bromance (for one day, at least) — visited Fowler in his hotel room (he hadn't yet found a permanant home) in St. Louis early in the season and the former Cubs leadoff man asked how big the championship ring was.

"[Rizzo] took a glass of water and put it on my hand," Fowler laughed.

When fireworks went off at sunset over Lake Michigan Thursday night, Fowler knew it was for Rizzo's engagement, but still sent a text anyways asking if the fireworks were actually for his return to Chicago.

In celebrating Fowler, the Cubs captured how close he and Rizzo were — unleashing an onslaught of bro-hugs between the two in the one-minute Fowler tribute video before the ring ceremony:

The Wrigley crowd gave Fowler a standing ovation, fulfilling the prediction one reporter made when saying Fowler may be one of the only Cardinals players the Cubs faithful cheered.

"That's awesome," Fowler said. "That's good to hear. We did something that hasn't been done for a while."

The 2017 Cubs are still trying to find their way ... without Fowler atop the lineup as the steady "you go, we go" presence.

The 31-year-old centerfielder was asked several times about how his former team is currently underperforming without the .367 on-base percentage he posted in two years with the Cubs. 

Of course, Fowler took the high road, content with his decision to sign a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Cardinals in the offseason.

"It's all hindsight," Fowler said. "You never know if I was in there if [the struggles] would've happened. To think about that would be kind of selfish.

"It's a good team over there. I'm sure they'll figure it out. ... Every team goes through a rut, but that's why we play 162 games. I'm sure they'll snap out of it sometime."

Fowler said he still chats often with Rizzo and Jason Heyward plus the retired backup catcher-turned-author-turned-dancer-turned-ESPN-analyst David Ross. 

Back when Fowler strolled across the back fields at Cubs Park in spring training 2016, he said had unfinished business he needed to attend to with the Cubs.

Now that that's been "finished," he is ready to move on.

"[Those are] memories that you'll never lose," Fowler said. "It's all a blur. You look back at the video and it starts coming back to you. It'll be good to get [that chapter] closed."

As for Rizzo, he's ready to start a new chapter in his life.

When asked how he's feeling post-engagement, Rizzo said he's "relieved." He didn't lose the ring or drop it in the lake and his girlfriend, Emily, was "totally surprised, which is what I wanted."

A reporter asked Rizzo if he has a date yet.

"A date? Yeah, it's June 2," Rizzo quipped. "We're in no rush."

Asked before the game if he had any advice for his newly-engaged friend, Fowler just flashed his iconic smile and said simply:

"Yeah, he better be ready to give me MY ring."

Yu Darvish suffering another setback puts his 2018 season in jeopardy

Yu Darvish suffering another setback puts his 2018 season in jeopardy

Yu have to be kidding me (Sorry, couldn't resist). 

The Cubs were expecting Sunday's rehab start to be the beginning to an end of what has been an extremely disappointing 2018 season for their $126 million man Yu Darvish. Darvish was scheduled to start Sunday for the Cubs single-A affiliate in South Bend, IN, but after just one inning Darvish was checked on by the trainers and eventually pulled before the 2nd inning started. 

According to Steve Greenberg, Darvish asked for an MRI on Monday which likely closes the door on him returning to the Cubs in 2018.

The frustrating thing about Darvish's rehab is that in his two rehab starts, the 32-year-old pitcher has had excellent stuff, touching 95 mph in Sunday afternoon's game before being pulled. 

At this point in the season, it seems unlikely Darvish will be able to return to the Cubs rotation for the regular season. And it would be incredibly risky to roll with Darvish in the playoffs, who even when healthy hasn't shown he's deserving of a postseason roster spot. The Cubs do have options at starter in the minors like Duane Underwood or James Norwood, and despite his shortcomings, Tyler Chatwood is an option out of necessity now.  

Drew Smyly, who looked like a possibility as a late-season addition, is still not quite ready to come back and be an effective rotation piece at the moment. And with Mike Montgomery heading to the disabled list earlier this week, the Cubs were hopeful Darvish would be healthy by the time rosters expand in September. 

Luckily, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, and Kyle Hendricks have all looked stellar recently and hopefully can continue their success on the mound as the Cubs continue to fight past injuries to maintain their grasp on the NL Central. 

But Theo Epstein said himself last week that if Darvish didn't perform well during his rehab stint, that was essentially his 2018 season. Don't expect to see Darvish returning to the mound until 2019, Cubs fans. 

 

 

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 48th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 48th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 48th homer of the season came off of the St. Louis Cardinals on August 19, 1998, in a 6-8 loss.

With two-outs, Sosa sent a deep shot off of Kent Bottenfield.

The home run was even more special for Sosa, due to it coming against the Cardinals and Mark McGwire, his home run adversary for the year. 

In the game Sosa went 2-for-4 with two RBI, the exact same stat line McGwire finished with.