Ben Zobrist Speaks: Excited to Be Back, The Retirement Question, Swing Not Quite Ready, More

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Ben Zobrist Speaks: Excited to Be Back, The Retirement Question, Swing Not Quite Ready, More

Chicago Cubs

Late last night, the Chicago Cubs reinstated one of the team’s biggest leaders, Ben Zobrist, from a months-long absence for personal/family reasons. I don’t think anyone – including the front office – has a great grasp on how big of an impact Zobrist will personally make on the field, but his presence in the clubhouse will absolutely be felt.

Speaking of which, Zobrist wasn’t in the starting lineup when it was announced earlier this morning, but he is on the active roster and at Wrigley Field. And that means after a very long time, we actually get to hear him speak. Here’s some of the things he said this morning.

Note: There wasn’t one, singular live-stream (and this just happened) so I’m piecing together his comments as best as I can without being there. Enjoy.

  • First and foremost, on the decision to walk away back in May, Zobrist said that “It was a very easy decision to put my family before baseball. That was where my heart was. My heart is here to play now.” He later expanded on that, saying he’s a “100%” type guy and when he wasn’t 100% focused on baseball, he knew what he needed to do. Moreover, he said he doesn’t regret taking the time that he did and is grateful that he had the chance to return. I think that’s all very thoughtful and wise of him – and I’d expect nothing less of Old Ben.
  • But as it turns out, Zobrist acknowledged that he wasn’t actually sure if he was going to come back at all, based on where he is in his career:

  • The implication there, of course, is that he could retire at the end of the season. I know it’s selfish of me, but given his expiring contract and all the time he’s missed, I wish he’d let us know if he was going to retire, so we can give him the proper send-off month he deserves. This guy has had one HECK of a career and I’d hate to see it fizzle out quietly because of something like this – especially if the Cubs don’t manage to make the postseason.

  • Another thing I keep seeing in the mess of tweets escaping Wrigley Field, is this idea that Zobrist met with his teammates in June to tell them that if he could, he would try his best to make it back to them before the end of the year. That’s just being a good teammate.
  • And for what it’s worth, he seems like he’s excited to be back:

  • But it’s not all roses and sunshine: While Zobrist does say he’s in a good place physically, which wasn’t a given after several months off, he later admitted that the timing of his swing is still off. With that in mind, he hopes he can help off the bench and start just here and there the rest of the way.

  • And finally, something more personal: Zobrist is apparently hoping to repair the relationship with his wife, and there is no legal action going on at the moment. I don’t really have any comment on that, I just wanted you to know.
  • This guy just oozes gratefulness – I hope he absolutely kills it this season:

UPDATE: According to Joe Maddon, Ben Zobrist will not be starting tomorrow, either.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami