MESA, Ariz. -- Where were you on Nov. 4, 2016? If you're a Cubs fan, you were probably one of the millions crammed along the parade route in Chicago to cheer on the 2016 World Series champions. Ryan Court was there.Court, now a non-roster invitee in Cubs camp, played for
MESA, Ariz. -- Where were you on Nov. 4, 2016? If you're a Cubs fan, you were probably one of the millions crammed along the parade route in Chicago to cheer on the 2016 World Series champions. Ryan Court was there.
Court, now a non-roster invitee in Cubs camp, played for the Red Sox's Double-A and Triple-A teams that season. He batted .277, saw action at all four infield positions plus left field, and cheered on the Cubs from afar.
An Elgin, Ill., native, Court, now 29, grew up a Cubs fan.
"I'm a Cubs fan for life," Court said. "I went to the parade for the World Series. I caught the 7 a.m. train and went down to the city."
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He and his father were in the throng along Michigan Avenue near the Chicago River, then decided it was so crowded, they'd rather watch the celebration on a television in a bar.
And after spending last season with the Red Sox's Triple-A team, then playing in the Dominican Republic this winter, Court decided he was going to play for the Cubs.
"I knew that's where I wanted to go," Court said. "Talking to the front office, it was a no-brainer for me. I'm 29, I don't have any big league time. If I'm going to make the big leagues, I want to earn it."
He wanted a challenge. The Cubs' 25-man Opening Day roster is pretty much set. Court was batting .375 this spring and hit his third home run on Wednesday, but he isn't going to bump Addison Russell or Anthony Rizzo off the infield. He could provide valuable depth. If the versatile Court had tried out for another team, he might have a better chance of getting to the big leagues.
"I want my debut to be with a team where I earned it and the team's a contender," Court said. "I think making the big leagues with this team, this group of guys, fighting for a World Series, would be very cool.
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"Everyone in the clubhouse genuinely cares about one another," he said. "You talk to Joe [Maddon], you talk to everybody and it's like talking to your friend."
A 23rd-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2011, he spent last season with Triple-A Pawtucket and also played 22 games for Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Former Cubs outfielder Moises Alou was Escogido's general manager.
"It took me awhile to be normal around him," Court said, sounding like a Cubs fan. "I mean, this is Moises Alou, I watched you, the catch, [Steve] Bartman. It's so hard to not ask you these questions that I want to ask you. He was awesome."
Alou took care of the Americans on the team, inviting them to his house in Santo Domingo for a four-course meal on Thanksgiving and also hosting a New Year's Eve party at his beach house.
Alou wasn't Court's favorite player growing up. He liked watching Sammy Sosa and Mark DeRosa.
"Derrek Lee was my favorite for sure," he said.
And even though he's played with other teams, it would be a dream come true to play in the big leagues for the Cubs.
"I don't think anything compares to here," he said, smiling.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.