Saturday, August 2, 2014

Another Reason We Still Miss Anthony Rizzo

Red Sox fans are continually reminded of one prospect that got away—Anthony Rizzo of Theo Epstein's Chicago Cubs. Rizzo has blossomed into the all-around quality major-leaguer Boston player development geeks said he would become. Unfortunately, he was the major chip used to get Adrian Gonzalez (a move we heartily supported at the time). Rizzo floundered in San Diego, but this year he is now a force on The North Side of The Second City—hitting .286 with 25 HRs (along with a .391 OBP and .441 SLG). But Boston's sixth-round pick of 2007 has recently done something that would have made him an even better person to be wearing Carmine Hose. On Tuesday night, July 24th, Rizzo clouted two HRs—his third multi-homer game of 2014. But the story behind those two round-trippers was extra special. A few hours earlier, Rizzo had visited the cancer ward of Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital where he met a 22-year patient named Mike Kassalis. Mike's condition resonated with Rizzo who—in 2008 at age 18—was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma. He did a half-year of chemotherapy and beat it. He didn't promise Mike to hit a HR for him, but he said he'd try. He came through—twice. Said Rizzo, "This one hit more at home for me. I usually don't get flashbacks, but I did this time." The Red Sox organization can still be proud of Anthony Rizzo.