Anthony Rizzo Had a Wild Day Before Making His Cubs Debut

Anthony Rizzo is tall, handsome, and the most famous man to come out of Iowa since shamed president Herbert Hoover. Hoover puffed cigars from the Oval Office as the economy plummeted and people began living in cardboard boxes or whatever else they could get their hands on. The Cubs' front isn't exactly as dire as Great Depression-era America, but they sure could use a more hands on approach. Someone who is willing to do SOMETHING to help fix this sunken ship. So Rizzo finds himself in unfamiliar territory with the burden of being some kind of savior, just as Hoover once was. "This sure ain't Iowa," Rizzo chuckles to himself. "Look at all these tall buildings!"

Rizzo walks the streets amongst his fellow Chicagoans, not yet recognizable. A few home runs should change that. He breaks off into a more neighborhood setting. Golly, even the apartment buildings are huge! The wind whips around, as it's known to do, and Rizzo can sense something is wrong. Dillon Gee? Nah. Sounds too much like a R&B singer. Suddenly, the voice of a frantic child cuts through the howling winds.

"Mister, mister. Please help! My cat! It's stuck in the tree."

Rizzo rushes over to help the poor boy. The cat, Wiggles, is too high up in the crabapple tree to reach.

"Oh, mister, I could just die!"

Rizzo notices the crabapples scattered across the ground. Something dawns on him. "Hand me your stick." Every kid under the age of eight always has a stick handy. The kid hands Rizzo his stick. Rizzo tosses a crab apple up to himself and takes a powerful left-handed cut. The crabapple shatters and nearly uproots the tree on impact, causing Wiggles to fall into Rizzo's massive and comforting arms.

"Here ya go, kid. Be careful. It's rough out here."

Rizzo continues his walk. He spots a dangerous situation out of the corner of his eye. "Well I'll be," he curses to himself. He sprints across the street only to find an elderly woman, face down in a pile of her own groceries. Cabbage, oranges, all the good stuff.

"Ma'am, ma'am, are you conscious?"

"UUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHH," she responds.

Rizzo has no time to waste. He slings the 72-pound woman over his shoulder, grabs her walker with his right hand, bags the groceries and picks up the bag with his left. Dillon Gee, New York asshole, would have walked right past her to catch the subway. Rizzo's paternal instincts kick in. He can clearly formulate a map in his head with a star marking the old woman's residence. There is not time to waste. Three miles later and ready for three miles more, Rizzo drops the woman into her nice comfy chair. He pours her a glass of water and heats up some soup. She seems to be doing better.

They talk about how much better life was 50 years ago and watch Wheel of Fortune. Rizzo lets her solve every puzzle and gives her hints when she's stumped. "It's time for me to go ma'am," he regretfully says. "I have a ballgame to play."

"YOU? You're that nice young ballplayer?"

"Just one of many, ma'am."

As Rizzo continues on his way, he notices the carnival has set up shop in a large Jewel parking lot. Even the parking lots are huge! The rides and vibrant colors remind him of the simpler times when he could just laugh and be a kid. He never lost those qualities, no, he just cannot spread them around to as many people as he would like. Rizzo decides to take a walk through the carnival and see how they've changed. They haven't changed. It's him. He's the one who has changed.

Across the parking lot, Rizzo can see a young boy in a dispute with the ride manager. "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? WELL, DO YOU?" the boy shouts in his cute, squeaky voice. "I CAN HAVE YOUR ASS FIRED."

Rizzo feels the need to interject, "What seems to be the problem here?"

The boy turns around and he is not a boy at all. In fact, he is Tony Campana. "Riz, is that you? Rizard of Waverly Place. Nobody beats the Riz. RizzOH NO! You slick bastard, you're finally in Chicago!"

"Indeed. What seems to be the problem?"

"This punk won't let me ride the tilt-a-whirl. He says I have to be this tall," Campana raises his arm an inch above his head. "He says I can only ride with an adult companion."

"Sir," Rizzo starts, "This is grown man. A small one, sure. But he is an adult. Surely, you can't prevent him from enjoying this ride."

"Rules are rules, pal. The only way he's getting on this ride is if you ride with him."

Campana looks up at Rizzo with his best set of puppy dog eyes. "Whadaya say, Rizotto? Will ya ride with me?"

"Anything for you, Camp."

They exit the ride laughing. Good, unforgettable times were had. "Here," Rizzo says, handing Tony a 10-dollar bill. "Get yourself some cotton candy, champ."

"Aww, thanks, Riz Phair. You're the best."

"Sure thing. Remember to be at the ballpark in an hour. We've got some metropolitan ass to kick."

One last stop before Wrigley. Rizzo's favorite place in the world, the Children's Hospital. The only thing worth more than a game-winning home run is the ability to spend a few moments with these kids. If only they could take the field with him. These kids have battled through more adversity than his new teammates would ever have to.

Rizzo is directed to room 107, where he is told Brandon awaits. Brandon is seven-years old, a huge Cubs fan, suffering from lymphoma. He wants to see Anthony Rizzo, his hero. They talk baseball. They talk life. Anything to get Brandon's mind off the treatment.

"Just one more thing," Brandon says before it's time for Rizzo to leave. "I just want to see you go 4-4 with 4 HR's and a Cubs win tonight. That's all I ask."

Rizzo smiles, "You really are a true Cubs fan, aren't you? I'll try Brandon, but I can only do so much. I'm just one man after all."

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