There’s a lot of players that get lost in the shuffle of the Anthony Rizzo‘s, Kris Bryant‘s and Jon Lester’s but contribute so much to the success of the Chicago Cubs. This year, Addison Russell stepped out of the shadows to become one of the League’s premier defenders at shortstop.
“He’s just grown — he’s growing and growing,” Maddon said. “That’s the beauty of development. The biggest thing I used to focus on in the Minor Leagues is what did a guy look like in April, and what does he look like in August. You see the development. He’s a perfect example — everything’s gotten better.”
It’s no secret that Joe Maddon is a huge fan of the incredible shortstop. Russell became an All Star this season and no doubt it improved his confidence immensely. In fact, he’s on everyone’s radar for a gold glove award this season.
“He’s definitely got to be in the conversation, legitimate conversation,” Maddon said of Russell. “This guy on defense, it’s getting to the point where there’s no one else like that right now.”
So, as the Cubs prepare for the opening of the NLDS on Friday, the Cubs are heavy favourites to win baseball’s biggest prize. The gambling odds website, Bovada, lists the Cubs at 12-5 favourites to win the World Series. I’m not a gambling man, but those seem to be great odds. As we know, odds mean nothing until the end.
The Cubs have gelled together as a team these past couple of years. Joe Maddon and his crew have built a foundation of respect and camaraderie amongst the veteran and young players that have carried forth into the on field success of the baseball team. Fans like me love this team because there’s no egos. There’s not one person that sits alone at the end of the bench or dines for dinner for one. It’s a true team effort.
“These are people who have been there and done it and understand that’s the old-fashioned part of this game,” Jason Heyward said. “It’s getting lost and kind of sad to see. It’s awesome to be able to help or lend experience, comfort, anything like that and pass along, not even the torch, but hospitality of becoming part of the fraternity.”
Maybe that’s what’s so appealing about these Cubs? They feel old fashioned, born of a different era. This team cares about their community and each other. There’s no star on this team. Bryant would be happy to play anywhere as long as he’s playing.
I’m hoping he’ll be happy to play in the World Series.