From the press box, baseball writers squinted down at the players taking ground balls at Wrigley Field Friday.
Was that lean first baseman really Anthony Rizzo?
“I looked at myself in the mirror when I got home with (my wife) Emily and I go, ‘I’m either going to gain 50 pounds or I’m going to get back into amazing shape,’” Rizzo said after the Cubs’ first day of Summer Camp.
Rizzo lost about 25 pounds over the baseball hiatus, training with quality assurance coach Mike Napoli.
“I was in really good shape coming into the spring,” Rizzo said, “and just me and coach Napoli were basically quarantine buddies the entire time. And we just held each other accountable every day, six days a week, we were going to get after it, we had our good routine, and I think it’s paid off. I feel really good for this year and for this sprint.”
Ian Happ, whose locker is next to Rizzo’s, said he watched his teammate try on smaller clothes Friday because everything from before his weight loss was too baggy.
“Nice to see him downsizing, and he looks absolutely wonderful,” Happ said. “His pop right now -- I don’t want to oversell it, but his pop right now -- he’s strong. He’s very strong.”
Rizzo began batting practice hitting everything to the left side of the field. A ground ball here. A fly ball there. But once he got his timing down, he started launching home runs over the ivy.
“Once we got on the field and we’re out there, it’s amazing how fast you can tune everything out,” Rizzo said, “and just be Anthony Rizzo the baseball player, when I’m between the lines.”
Broadway hit musical "Hamilton" became available to stream on Disney Plus on Friday, which serves as a fun reminder.
Remember when the Hamilton cast sang "Go Cubs Go" after the North Siders won the 2016 World Series? Like the Cubs finally snapping their 108-year championship drought, it actually happened.
The Cubs won the Fall Classic on Nov. 2, 2016, a dramatic 8-7 affair that went 10 innings and finished after midnight, Nov. 3, in Cleveland. The Hamilton Chicago cast performed the night of Nov. 3, and the Cubs' clincher presented a perfect way to round out the musical's curtain call.
Hamilton star Miguel Cervantes put on a special rendition of the song, fitting for the moment:
"Baseball season's done today/We better get ready for a brand new day/Hey Chicago, what do you say?/We won the World Series yesterday."
The cast didn't know some of the later lyrics but we'll give them a pass. Check out the awesome performance here: