Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo hasn't played at Wrigley Field since last Sept. 22. With MLB and the players union haggling over terms for a season delayed three months by the coronavirus, there's no telling when Rizzo and the Cubs' next game at the Friendly Confines will be.
Rizzo recently returned to Chicago from Florida and one day had batting practice and a day of golf with Ian Happ scheduled. He decided to swing by Wrigley, and that casual drive reminded him how mesmerizing the ballpark is.
"So, I was driving 'cause we hit the other day and I wanted to drive by Wrigley just to see what it looked like 'cause I haven't seen Wrigley in a while," Rizzo said on "The Compound" podcast. "And I'm driving in from a different route than I usually take. I'm in a neighborhood, I'm in a neighborhood, I'm in a neighborhood (then) boom - Wrigley Field.
"I'm like, this is absolutely insane. You're literally in residentials, then all of the sudden you have one square block of a baseball heaven stadium and then you're back into a neighborhood.
"It blows my mind every time I see it because of how crazy it is being in the neighborhood like that."
That game of golf included a funny moment with some Cubs fans at Happ's expense. He said around the 17th or 18th hole, a man and what appeared to be his grandson approached him and Rizzo.
Rizzo is the face of the Cubs franchise and has been in Chicago since 2012. Happ debuted in 2017 and has had his share of big moments, but the young fan didn't recognize him.
"The guy drives out and he says [to the kid], ‘Do you know who this is?' ‘Anthony Rizzo.' ‘Yeah, do you know who that is?' [and] points at me. ‘No,'" Happ recalled.
"It's the most demoralizing thing. I know it's gonna happen every single time. If somebody actually says my name, I'm like, ‘Oh wow.'"
Happ pointed out how as a big leaguer, he hasn't been in Chicago at this point in the year without having games to play. Monday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred declared he is "not confident" a 2020 season will happen - less than a week after declaring there will "100 percent" be one.
Happ, Rizzo and a chorus of big leaguers have responded on social media with the same "Tell us when and where" (to report to play) statement MLBPA executive director Tony Clark directed at the league over the weekend while ending negotiations.
Tell us when and where! We are ready!— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) June 16, 2020
With baseball's extended absence, Rizzo finds himself missing the little things that make his profession so great.
"I miss walking to Wrigley Field every day and I miss that run out to first base, just the energy you get from the fans," he said. "I miss the nervous energy of 'Am I going to have a good game today? Are we going to win today? We need to win, team's in a rut.'
"I miss all that little stuff that goes into the baseball season. I miss sitting in my locker wondering if I'm ever going to get another hit again. I miss just the grind, traveling, all of it."
Cubs' Anthony Rizzo misses the little things about baseball during its hiatus originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago