Cubs

John Cusack enjoying Cubs' run: 'It doesn't matter who these guys face'

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John Cusack enjoying Cubs' run: 'It doesn't matter who these guys face'

Eddie Vedder gets a lot of attention as perhaps the Cubs' most famous fan — though even the Pearl Jam lead singer might have to take a backseat after President Obama tweeted that he's supporting the Cubs.

But there are plenty more celebs who have been die-hard Cubs fans for longer than they've been household names. Actor and Chicagoland native John Cusack falls into that category, and he's been a fixture at Cubs games for years.

Cusack was in attendance Tuesday night at Wrigley Field when the Cubs punched their ticket to the NLCS with a 6-4 win over the Cardinals.

Like most Cubs fans, Cusack was ready to celebrate after the big NLDS victory. When CSN's Luke Stuckmeyer asked whether he thought the Wrigleyville barkeeps were doing good business, Cusacks responded:

"You think the establishments might be full?"

Cusack likes what he sees from this Cubs team and talked with Stuckmeyer about a different vibe compared to years past.

"I think there's a bunch of plays that earlier would've spooked the whole crowd. But these guys are like, 'No problem, play through it,'" Cusack said. "Jake Arrieta doesn't pitch like a perfect game for the first time in four months, and the bats say, 'No problem, we got you. They score eight? We'll score 12.'"

With the Dodgers forcing a Game 5 in the other NLDS, the Cubs need to wait to find out who they'll face for a shot at the pennant. Cusack isn't concerned with the result of that series, though.

"It doesn't matter who these guys face," he said, "that's what I feel."

Check out the video above for the entirety of Stuckmeyer's on-field interview with Cusack.

David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote put his sweet, sweet swing to special use on Tuesday.

Prior to the Cubs’ Cactus League game vs. the Rockies, a couple of Cubs fans asked Bote to partake in their gender reveal. The duo brought a powder-infused baseball, asking Bote to take a hack to reveal whether they’re having a boy or girl.

The father-to-be tossed the ball to Bote, who smashed it open to unleash a pink cloud of powder — signifying the couple will have a girl. The 26-year-old infielder — who has two daughters himself — threw his arms in the air to celebrate.

No matter how you feel about gender reveals, you’ve gotta love the uniqueness of this one and Bote partaking in the special moment. Here’s to a healthy life for the baby! 

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Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start in spring training

Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start in spring training

The Cubs have only played three spring training games, and it’s dangerous to use spring results to predict regular season successes and failures. Still, it’s okay to acknowledge Albert Almora Jr.’s hot start in camp.

In two games, Almora is 4-for-4 with a walk, double, home run, four RBIs and four runs scored. That line is essentially equivalent to a single game in the regular season and could be turned upside down by the end of the week. But it’s a start for the 25-year-old who has struggled immensely at the plate for the last season and a half.

In his last 177 games (dating back to the second half of 2018), Almora holds a .235/.270/.347 slash line. The advanced stats paint an uglier picture: 58 wRC+, .261 wOBA and 52.2 percent groundball rate.

Last season was the most challenging of Almora’s young career. He hit .236/.271/.381 in 130 games with a 64 wRC+, .271 wOBA, -0.7 fWAR (all career worsts). On top of that, he was involved in a heartbreaking moment early in the season; an Almora foul ball struck a young girl at Minute Maid Park during a Cubs-Astros game in May.

Almora refused to blame his 2019 offensive woes on that incident, though it obviously played a part. He did admit that he was in a bad place mentally and used this winter to decompress. Almora also used it to make some adjustments to his swing and the changes are clear as day:

Pre-2020:

2020:

As MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes, Almora is now more upright in the box and his stance is more closed. His leg kick is less defined and he’s rotating his front leg far less than previous seasons. In short, he’s more direct to his swing and has more time to react in the box because he cut out a lot of his pre-swing movements.

RELATED: David Ross is wasting no time with Cubs' rotation competition

Almora said Monday he’s far from where he wants to be, pointing out the MLB season is a 200-day marathon. It’s too early to tell whether his simplified approach leads to sustainable success.

Small sample size be damned, Almora’s made noticeable adjustments. That’s the first step in his mission to get back on track offensively.

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