WASHINGTON – Anthony Rizzo didn’t see the point of bringing clothes to Washington, what with the unusual turnaround trip from home to Nationals Park for a makeup game and then back home again in a span of 24 hours.
So the Cubs first baseman wore his uniform on the team charter.
Cleats, eye black and all.
“I’m ready to go,” Rizzo said Thursday after walking into the visitors’ clubhouse in full uniform.
The Cubs, grinding through an unusual stretch of 30 games in 30 days without a day off (this was their 24th in 24 days), had hoped to get their makeup game scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT against the Nats changed to a later date. Rizzo showing up on the plane lightened the mood caused by the inconvenience after they lost Wednesday night to the hard-charging Brewers, who took two of three games in a big series at Wrigley Field.
With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the coast – although it was well south of the nation’s capital and the weather for Thursday looked fine for baseball – there had been concerns for days that the Cubs might show up and get rained out yet again after sitting through numerous rain delays here over the weekend.
“We’re flying into a state of emergency with rain in the forecast, it’s kind of a joke,” Rizzo said. “Why not keep joking around about it. Just have fun.”
Asked if he slept in the uniform at the team hotel, where the team got to bed around 4 a.m., Rizzo looked down and said, “I don’t have anything else. One day in and out of D.C. Gotta get the game in.”
Rizzo even wore eye black on the plane. That was cleaned off his face Thursday morning.
It’s “parked on a couple pillows in a hotel room somewhere,” he said.
Rizzo said he will wear the uni – the Cubs were in their blue road jerseys – on the flight home (he doesn’t have anything else to wear, remember) and also promised another Cub would join in.
But not Kris Bryant.
“No, no. Gosh no,” Bryant said. “Just Rizz being Rizz, which is good. We all needed that a little comic relief to do that on the plane. It’s not very comfortable, the cleats and everything.”
“I wish he would have said something sooner or we all would have done it,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I would have done it in a heartbeat. He’s sitting there [and I said] ‘Why didn’t you say something sooner?’ It could have been a great method, wear the uniform on way out, play the game, get the uniform dirty, get the plane dirty all that stuff. It would have been fun but he saved that for himself and I loved it.”
The Cubs remain miffed about losing an off day on the schedule.
“What can you do?” Rizzo said. “At the end of the day our front office and our owner have our back. Long stretch of games, people in MLB who have been on the players side, understand the human element of it and they seem not to care about it at all. It is what it is, we can sit here and complain about it or joke about it. The joking around part is a lot more fun.”
Rizzo led off the game with a liner into the left-center field gap but was thrown out at second base by center fielder Victor Robles at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.