Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo on difference in 2018: `We have a lot to prove’

MESA, Ariz. – Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said he learned like everyone else through media reports Tuesday that all 30 teams would wear hats Friday with the Stoneman Douglas High School logo to honor the shooting victims at his alma mater.

The hats are expected to be worn during batting practice and other pregame work before Friday’s exhibition openers, and the Cubs plan to also wear the hats before their home exhibition opener on Saturday (they open Friday in Maryvale, Arizona, against the Brewers).

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“It’s awesome. It’s cool to see that support,” said Rizzo, who spent several days at home in Parkland, Florida, last week to be with friends and family in the aftermath of the shooting. “There’s obviously deeper ties for me than the rest of the league. But it’s really neat that Major League Baseball’s recognizing what happened.”

Rizzo

The Cubs also have planned a moment of silence before Saturday’s game.

Rizzo, who gave an emotional speech during last Thursday’s candlelight vigil in Florida, said he was glad to talk about baseball when the subject was changed Wednesday.

After the way the Cubs responded to their championship with a slow start last year and eventually a second-round playoff defeat, Rizzo said the Cubs “have a lot to prove” in 2018.

“It’s definitely different,” he said of the vibe in camp during the first week of official workouts. “It’s a good, hungry feeling. Obviously, last year was coming off a major high. This year is more like everyone’s focused and locked in early and shifting our energy to getting off to a really good start and how important that is.”

Rizzo said the intent and effort weren’t any different when camp opened last year.

“It’s just hard to match that intensity,” he said. “You know, you make a bad play, and you shrug it off a little bit easier than if you make a bad play now and you’re a little ticked off because we haven’t proven anything now.

“We’re nothing. We’re bottom of the pack just like everyone else or we’re top of the pack like everyone else, depending on how you look at it.

“We have a lot to prove.”

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

 

 

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