Rizzo grateful to fans, Cubs organization
CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Great American Ball Park following the Cubs' 6-4, come-from-behind victory in 12 innings over the Reds on Thursday thinking he had fallen just short in his bid to become an All-Star.
A Cubs public relations staffer had a look on his face like "his dog had just died," so Rizzo assumed he didn't win the National League's Final Vote contest. But manager Rick Renteria called a team meeting to drop the charade: He told Rizzo that he had, in fact, been awarded the final spot on the NL's All-Star roster, and the clubhouse erupted into celebration.
"It's incredible. I walked over to the offices and thanked all the front-office people who were working behind the scenes to promote it and pump it up," said Rizzo, who garnered 8.8 million votes to secure his first All-Star selection. "I'm just very, very appreciative. My family is ecstatic; we've come a long way all together.
"Myself, everyone else around me that has coached me and helped me out through good times and bad times, it's just an accomplishment that I will cherish forever."
Rizzo narrowly edged the Rockies' Justin Morneau and the Braves' Justin Upton. He trailed Morneau until late Wednesday, took a slight lead early Thursday and took control later that day as fans took to Twitter and voted for the Cubs' first baseman using #VoteRizzo.
Rizzo has consequently become a big fan of Twitter.
"Yeah, I love it. I'm just a big fan of how the Cubs went about this," Rizzo said. "They promoted it like no other. The whole city of Chicago, all the fans, I love this city, and it makes me even more proud to be playing for this team and this city."
Rizzo even joked about his reason for exchanging heated words with the Reds on Thursday, which led to both benches clearing.
"I knew there was 30 minutes left in the Final Vote, and I didn't hit a home run that day, so I had to do something," he said.
The incident told Renteria that Rizzo and fellow All-Star Starlin Castro are embracing their increasingly important roles.
"I thought Anthony standing up in that moment yesterday during the ballgame showed that he's got a little bit of heart in what it takes to be a leader, and I think everybody gravitated to it," Renteria said. "They're growing up."