Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo ‘forever grateful’ for Joe Maddon’s impact

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Anthony Rizzo ‘forever grateful’ for Joe Maddon’s impact originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

NEW YORK — The Angels were at Yankee Stadium last week, which meant Anthony Rizzo got one last chance to see Joe Maddon on a baseball field, in uniform, before the legendary ex-Cubs manager was fired by the Angels a few days later.

“It was great being able to talk to him,” Rizzo said Friday as the Cubs opened a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. “Joe was such a huge part of my career, and my life, and my family’s life. So everything he’s done for me and my family, I’ll be forever grateful for.”

Maddon’s Cubs averaged 94 wins during his five seasons as manager, including four consecutive playoff appearances, three consecutive trips to the National League Championship Series and the one, huge, historic championship in 2016 — during which Rizzo gloved the final throw for the final out of the World Series.

“My reaction [to the Angels firing] is there is no [reaction],” said Rizzo, one of three championship core players dumped by the Cubs in trades at last year’s deadline. “This is baseball. Nothing surprises me at this point. This is a business.”

RELATED: Cubs' Ross: 'Sucky' to learn of Angels' firing of Maddon

Maddon, 68, told The Athletic in the wake of the firing that he hopes to manage again. Whether he does, his 1,382 wins and World Series appearances for the Cubs and Rays puts him in the Hall of Fame conversation, if not the Hall.

“Whatever he decides to do next I’m sure he’s gonna love it,” Rizzo said.

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