Joe Maddon has specific plans to watch entire Game 7 of 2016 World Series

Joe Maddon has specific plans to watch entire Game 7 of 2016 World Series

One of the joys of life is basking in our past accomplishments. There’s nothing like recalling great memories with a fond appreciation for what once was.

Joe Maddon’s biggest accomplishment as a big league manager is leading the Cubs to their first championship in 108 years. We’re nearly four years removed from the 2016 World Series, and by now, Maddon has to have watched the series’ grand finale, right? Heck, MLB Network just reaired Games 5 through 7 two weeks ago.


On the latest Baseball Tonight Podcast, Maddon told ESPN’s Buster Olney that he has yet to rewatch Game 7 of the ’16 Fall Classic all the way through. However, the now-Angels manager already is envisioning when that moment will ultimately come.

“It’s one of those things that I think when I’m done, totally done (retired)… when I get settled in, and I’m hanging out in Pennsylvania somewhere,” Maddon said, “I’ll get this 95-inch television by that time with the great surround system. 

“I’ll pop it up there and sit there with a really good glass of red [wine], some kind of delicacy from a local hoagie shop and watch the whole thing.”

Sounds like a plan, Joe. Let us know how your viewing goes.

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Anthony Rizzo rewatches Rajai Davis home run from Game 7 of 2016 World Series

Anthony Rizzo rewatches Rajai Davis home run from Game 7 of 2016 World Series

With no live sports taking place, re-airing and rewatching classic games has become a new trend.

Last week, MLB Network aired Games 5 through 7 of the 2016 World Series. Anthony Rizzo was one of those to watch and it gave him some eerie flashbacks.

One of the big moments in Game 7 was Rajai Davis’ two-run home run in the eighth inning that tied the game. Davis blasted an Aroldis Chapman fastball over the left field wall on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. At the time, it was obviously a huge momentum swing.

Despite knowing the ending, Rizzo was screaming at his TV like any other fan rewatching that game.

“When Davis hits the homer, I’m standing there in the kitchen and I’m just like, ‘Throw the slider!’” Rizzo said on Monday’s Kap & Company radio show on ESPN 1000. “He hits it, and I swear I got the same numb chills feeling that I did playing at first base. It was cool to see all that because I really haven’t seen much of it as far as live. I might go back and watch [them] all and start from the DS.”

Of course, Rizzo probably wouldn’t be able to watch that play if the Cubs didn’t go on to win in extra innings.

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Cubs 2020 roster outlook: Kyle Hendricks is a steady force in the rotation

Cubs 2020 roster outlook: Kyle Hendricks is a steady force in the rotation

Each day in March, NBC Sports Chicago is previewing one player from the Cubs’ expected 2020 Opening Day roster. Next up is starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

2019 recap

A look at Hendricks’ overall numbers from 2019 shows he was his consistent self. The Professor made 30 starts for the fourth time in six seasons. He sported a 3.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and a personal best 4.4 percent walk rate.

What’s strange about Hendricks’ 2019 season is the sharp divide between his home and road numbers. The final numbers are respectable, but he was much better at Wrigley Field than away from it, a microcosm of the Cubs’ season as a whole (51-30 at home, 33-48 away).

Hendricks at home: 14 starts, 6-2 record, 92 2/3 innings (average of 6 2/3+ innings/start), 2.04 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 23.1 K%, 3.7 BB%

Hendricks on road: 16 starts, 5-8 record, 84 1/3 innings (average of under 5 1/3 innings/start), 5.02 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 18.1 K%, 5.1 BB%

Hendricks obviously wasn’t roughed up in every road start, and he improved some in the second half, allowing an earned run or less in four of seven outings. However, he was exceptional in nearly every start at Wrigley. His 81-pitch, complete game shutout of the Cardinals on May 3 is one of the most memorable Cubs games from last season.

The drastic splits are staggering, and even the Cubs had a hard time explaining them.

"On the road, it's just depth perception, what does it look like?" then-manager Joe Maddon said last August. "It's probably very comfortable [at Wrigley] when he looks into the catcher. When you pitch on the road, it's variable ballparks. He's pitched in some pretty high-leverage moments [on the road]. I don't know the answer.”

Expectations for this season’s role

With Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Cole Hamels in the picture, Hendricks has generally been viewed as the Cubs’ No. 3 starter. Arrieta and Hamels departed as free agents in recent winters, and Darvish’s torrid 2019 second half has propelled him to ace status in the Cubs’ rotation.

No one is writing off Lester, but his days as a No. 1 starter are probably over. Hendricks now slots in as the Cubs No. 2 starter, though he should be viewed as a 1-B due to his poise and uber-consistent nature.

2020 outlook

The Cubs’ Opening Day rotation looks set but not without questions. Will Darvish carry over his 2019 second half across a full season? Can Lester and José Quintana bounce back from their worst seasons on the North Side? How will Tyler Chatwood, the Cubs’ expected fifth starter, perform as he rejoins the rotation?

This isn’t meant to a present a gloomy outlook for the 2020 season, but demonstrate how vital Hendricks is to the rotation, rather. No one is expecting the 30-year-old to suddenly start blowing his fastball past hitters. He’ll throw his high-80s sinkers and four-seam fastballs, mixing in a slow changeup to keep opponents off-balance.

RELATED: A new training program has Kyle Hendricks, and the Cubs, believing the best is yet to come

Hendricks is as steady as it gets, and the Cubs need him to do what he does best — be himself.

“Kyle’s one of those guys where you just don’t have to worry much about as a coach,” Cubs manager David Ross said last month. “He sets the right example; he goes about his business. He’s unemotional in every aspect of his game. Good or bad, you’d never know how his last start was.

“He comes in, he’s a worker, he prepares the right way, and goes out and gives you his best effort. I feel like he’s one of the guys you have to worry about least.” 

The complete roster outlook series:

1. Cubs hoping Kris Bryant stabilizes leadoff spot in 2020