Addison Russell: Cubs Playing Like Little Kids, Having Fun

How great was that win last night? Anthony Rizzo seemed to enjoy it.

“That’s the best one I’ve been a part of. Coming back like that, seesawing back and forth all game — this is what we do, we don’t quit.”

Starlin Castro echoed that sentiment, saying:

“Talking with Coghlan, we wouldn’t win that game last year or the year before. We quit. If we were losing after seven innings, we quit. Now, we never quit. If we get extra innings, we play hard, we never quit.”

I wrote about this same thing a little while back after a comeback win in Denver when I began to see a change in the way myself and others perceived this team. It sounds like the Cubs are seeing it too.

“Honestly, I don’t think we win this last year,” Kyle Hendricks said after that win over the Rockies. “Just the confidence factor, all the new guys coming in here with the winning attitude, the winning ways. These guys know how to win. And it just showed right there. I think there’s going to be a lot of those this year.”

And our own Bryan O’Donnell expressed the same confidence just this morning, writing:

“Whenever the Cubs go down one or two runs this year, not only am I confident they can come back — I pretty much expect it.”

It’s no secret that winning is fun, particularly when you can do it on a consistent basis. Through 13 games, the Cubs already have 8 wins, but what’s even better is that half of those have come via 9th-inning comebacks like the one we saw last night. That sense of just knowing your team is going to win, that almost naive sense of faith in them to succeed, reminds me of how I felt when I watched them as a kid.

For that reason, I found it quite fitting that I was taking in the Cubs while simultaneously watching my 10-year-old cousin’s little league game last night (because I was in Georgia, the blackout rules could not stifle my viewing). For all intents and purposes, the guys leading the charge on the North Side are kids themselves.

Newly-minted starting second baseman Addison Russell is only 89 days removed from being unable to legally purchase a $9 baseball glove at Wrigley and is 464 days younger than the next-youngest player in the NL (Bryce Harper). Now Russell joins Kris Bryant (23), Jorge Soler (23), Starlin Castro (25), and Anthony Rizzo (25) to form the core of a team that could be together for years to come.

Russell saw and felt the same thing I did as he experienced his new team for the first time.

“They played this game just like little kids — they had fun,” he said. “I’m happy to be part of it.”

You know something else about being a kid and playing like one? There’s an innocent confidence and a swagger you can have that isn’t tainted by hubris and hasn’t been beaten down and muted by failure. I see that in Russell, who said of his call-up:

“I just like playing this game. I’m here for a reason.”

His individual exploits on Tuesday didn’t provide much fodder for blogging, but if Russell is able to play as he’s capable of playing, Cubs fans are going to continue having a lot of fun watching this game.


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