Where's Rizzo? Slugger's a bleacher creature

July 10th, 2020

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were three innings into an intrasquad game on Thursday night, and manager David Ross was focused on the field in front of him. Then bench coach Andy Green had a question for Ross:

"You see Rizz?"

No, Ross had not seen Cubs first baseman in a few minutes. The last Ross had heard, Rizzo was planning to head out to the bullpen underneath Wrigley Field's left-field bleachers to track some pitches from the relievers getting warmed up. Ross scanned left field, and there was Rizzo, sitting high in the bleacher seats, watching the game.

Ross got a kick out of it, especially when Rizzo kept moving to different sections to see the field from a different vantage point. The manager said Green joked that Rizzo's wandering reminded him of a "Where's Waldo" book.

"He's, 'Where's Rizzo?' He's in a different spot in the outfield every time," Ross said on a Zoom call with reporters on Friday. "It was pretty funny. Then, I started to notice it a little bit, him walking around the park. You know, that's kind of a really good idea. You get a chance to take in this beautiful venue and see a game.

"He was talking about how he could see the skyline from left field in a couple seats and how beautiful it was.

"We're never in the stands as players. When I got to come back after retiring and watch a game, even from the [press] box and some different areas -- I did a game out in left field with ESPN, and being in the bleachers in right, as well -- it's just a cool perspective, a cool, different way to see the park."

Rizzo, who did not take part in the game because of mild tightness in his lower back, eventually exited the bleachers and headed down to the bullpen to track pitches as planned.

At one point, the Cubs first baseman popped out into left field through the door in the wall and chatted with left fielder , who launched an opposite-field homer to the bleachers seats moments after Rizzo left the seats. That cost Rizzo the opportunity to throw the home run ball back onto the field.

At the start of Summer Camp, Ross had a meeting with the players in the stands down the right-field line. Perhaps Rizzo's trek to the bleachers was inspired by that gathering, because the first baseman said seeing Wrigley Field even from that perspective was a new and memorable experience.

"Whatever that section was where we had our meeting," Rizzo said, "I'm going to apply for season tickets there asap, just because that view of Wrigley Field, I've never seen the view from that angle before. I was just blown away.

"You had the dugout right there, just the whole vantage point of the game, I was just like, 'Wow.' It just felt good to be back here. It feels good to be here and to be able to practice here and get back to a sense of normality."