I was on the road to Chicago when he said it, so I couldn’t react too thoroughly in real-time. But I didn’t need to. Because when Anthony Rizzo said yesterday that the Chicago Cubs were going to win the 2015 NL Central, everyone else reacted. And shared. And discussed. And dissected.
It was a lot of fun to observe later, seeing almost every national outlet pick up Rizzo’s comments and not frame them as the most ridiculous thing they’ve ever heard.
“We’re going to win the NL Central. You can quote me on that.”
That’s the essence of what Rizzo said, in addition to other gonna-get-you-a-little-irrationally-excited things. You can read those things here, here, and here, among many other places. Just Google Anthony Rizzo and you’ll see how quickly and widely his comments spread.
Normally, these kinds of “we’re gonna do X” comments don’t really mean much unless the person saying it appears to be completely tone deaf to the impossibility of what he’s saying. In those instances – we’ve seen it before – the quote runs everywhere for the lulz.
In this case, however, even as the Cubs are coming off another last place finish, there are no lulz to be had. First of all, if there’s anyone who is in a position to speak boldly about the future of the Chicago Cubs, it’s Anthony freaking Rizzo. The dude has earned it. Secondly, everyone has acknowledged and accepted that this Cubs team has a bright future. Maybe it won’t happen for them in 2015 … but it could. It’s certainly not ridiculous for a player on that team to show confidence.
Sure, it’s a long road to actually getting there, but Rizzo was saying this kind of thing back last Fall. Certainly nothing that has happened since has given him any pause, nor should it.
I dig that the Cubs are in a place now where talking like this is not the exclusive province of delusional fans. I dig that Rizzo is comfortable displaying this kind of confidence. He wasn’t taking a shot at any other team out there. He was simply expressing his belief that the guys around him – and he, himself – are going to take to the field this year feeling like they really can win the Central.
And they really can.