Cubs

'Match made in heaven': Russell, Zobrist already clicking for Cubs

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'Match made in heaven': Russell, Zobrist already clicking for Cubs

MESA, Ariz. - It didn't take long for Ben Zobrist to fit in with this Cubs team.

Zobrist is apparently something of a master at blending seamlessly into a clubhouse.

Cubs position players haven't even had their first official workout yet and Addison Russell and Zobrist are already firing on all cylinders up the middle.

"We got out there [Monday] and took some ground balls and it was almost like a match made in heaven," Russell said. "Our feeds were perfect to each other without even talking to each other beforehand about the feeds.

"That's always a good sign where his mindset is on covering second base and how he turns double plays is right up my alley, too.

"He just kinda has this swagger about him that I could relate to. It's really easy to turn that whenever you're on that same page."

[RELATED - Why the Cubs feel Ben Zobrist was the most important signing in baseball]

To be clear, Russell wasn't taking a shot at Starlin Castro or anything like that, just simply talking up Zobrist.

Joe Maddon thinks Zobrist will make a big impact on Russell, not necessarily with technique or anything, but more as just a calming presence.

Right now, Zobrist is penciled in to play second base with Russell at shortstop.

But Zobrist has made a career out of moving around the diamond under Maddon and Russell actually wants to stay versatile, too.

Russell admitted it might be a little bit easier to just stick at his natural position of shortstop this year instead of worrying about switching positions to second base, as he did last year when he was first called up to the majors. But he also wants to make sure he stays sharp on the other side of the infield.

"I want to go to the second base side and play a little bit so I don't get too dusty over there," Russell said. "Just having something in my back pocket is more beneficial for me."

Will he play some second base still? In Zobrist and Javy Baez, the Cubs do have several options at shortstop beyond Russell, who said he was actually "looking forward" to playing some second base.

But Maddon and the Cubs don't want him to worry about that.

"No, he doesn't need to [play second base this spring]," Maddon said. "I don't anticipate putting him there in a game. If he thought he needed to do that for some type of routine he needed to get done, I would listen to that. But there's really no need to."

Wherever he played last year (86 games at second base, 61 at shortstop), the 22-year-old Russell gave the Cubs a boost with his glove.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Cubs fans!]

According to FanGraphs, Russell tallied 19 defensive runs saved between the two positions - nine at second and 10 at short.

Does that have him thinking Gold Glove? 

"That'd be pretty nice," Russell said. "I just want to make the plays. I'll let them judge who wins the Gold Glove, but that would be pretty nice.

"But when it comes down to it, I just wanna make the plays."

Maddon thinks Russell is certainly capable of winning the coveted defensive award.

"No question. A big part of that would be the fact that he makes routine plays so routinely well," Maddon said. "A lot of times, guys that might have a little bit of flair for the dramatic get a lot of publicity. Although, he has that.

"I just really like the chrome-less kinda infielder that's very basic and boring in a sense that knows how to pick up a ground ball and throw it to first base without any fanfare.

"... When the ball's hit to shortstop, you pretty much know it's an out. You're not holding your breath. You're not waiting for your result. He's that guy. So yes, absolutely a Gold Glove candidate."

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

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...