Anthony Rizzo has been called up from Iowa, and will reportedly be in the line-up tomorrow night against the Mets. My first order of business was to jump on Stubhub and grab the cheapest bleacher ticket I could find ($40 after the fees vs. $51 face from the Cubs) and I'll be out there hanging with Bleacher Nation Brett to take in Rizzo's Cubs debut.
I haven't been this excited to go to a Cubs game in a long, long time.
Mind you, I'm not expecting him to have a Castro-esque debut where he hits a homerun in his first at-bat and ends up with 6 RBIs on the night. I fully expect for him to go 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. But this is the start of what we have been waiting for. His development is something to watch over the next couple of years. Hopefully he will provide some fireworks with his power along the way. Aside from LaHair and Soriano (lately), this team doesn't have what one would call prodigious power. Anthony Rizzo can hit some bombs. Between him and LaHair with the wind blowing out to right, the folks with buildings on Sheffield might want to invest in some shatter-proof glass.
I'm excited for a top of the order that starts DeJesus, Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Rizzo. That ain't bad. The rest of the lineup is a smoldering hole, but those top five guys can maybe put some runs on the board occasionally. If the bottom half ever manages to flip it around by actually getting on base, there could be some big innings. They will be rare, but they will hopefully offer a glimpse into what the Cubs are trying to achieve on a regular basis.
Of course, there is the lump in the stomach that worries what will happen if he starts out poorly. How fast will this fanbase turn on him? 0 for 8? 0 for 12? How much patience do these people have? The knuckleheads will always be there, but the vast majority will go however the media spins his performances. Normally, I'd be extremely concerned and fearful about a slow start. These are the Cubs, afterall. Nothing ever comes easy. But even if he gets labeled a 4-A bust by media members searching for a narrative and a hole in the Superfriends' armor, or if Brenly yammers on about focus and effort if he happens to fail at something, I'm reasonably assured that this front office won't panic in the face of a fanbase parroting at the tops of their lungs whatever nonsense they get their heads filled with.
Anthony Rizzo is here and I'm pretty certain that this front office isn't going to cave in on him until he has been given more than enough time to prove he can handle major league pitching. So we should finally have someting besides Starlin Castro to watch for the foreseeable future.
It's the first step of a very long journey. Good luck, Anthony.