Joe Maddon’s Fantasy Camp, also known as Spring Training 2016, was back at it again Friday morning.
Days after inviting a mime to lead stretches before a Cubs workout, it was Animal Kingdom Day in Mesa, Arizona. Two baby black bears, roughly 10 to 12 weeks old, were brought to camp. Baby black bears are also known as … cubs.
“It’s very cool,” Maddon said, “very cool.”
First baseman Anthony Rizzo went nuts for the real cubs, immediately bonding with them. One of the bears evidently peed on Rizzo.
The two male cubs were brought to camp by staff from Bearizona, a wildlife park near Flagstaff. Bearizona says it has 39 bears on 39 acres. The staff has asked the real Cubs to name the baby bears.
“There’s a lot of pressure there,” Maddon said, smiling.
The baseball Cubs have until the end of the season to come up with the names for the furry ones.
“My thought was to hopefully involve the fans somehow,” Maddon said.
The Cubs went looking for bears and contacted the Shedd Aquarium, which led the team to the folks at Bearizona. The Cubs are donating $2,000 to Kurt Warner’s Treasure House charity as part of the arrangement to bring the baby bears to camp.