The Chicago Cubs, after a heartbreaking Game 2 loss to the Washington Nationals, boarding a late night flight, and arriving Sunday morning for a workout, looked as stressed out as those tourists in downtown Chicago shopping along Michigan Avenue.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon arrived to the clubhouse wearing a vintage ’68 Joe Namath jersey, but says it’s too early to make predictions.
The players walked onto the field at Wrigley Field, not to take batting practice, but to grab some eggs and waffles from the professional chefs manning the omelet stations behind home plate.
Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber spent his most energy chasing down 9-year-old Colton Hyde, the son of Cubs first base coach Brandon Hyde, after being plunked with one of his pitches.
“Yeah, I’m getting ready,’’ Schwarber said, laughing, “just so I can charge the mound and get suspended a couple of days in the playoffs. Makes sense, right?’’
Yep, just as much as it does for the Cubs, the defending World Series champs, to feel any pressure with the NL Division Series tied at 1-game apiece.
Their only worry this day was watching the Detroit Lions-Carolina Panthers game on the huge video board in left field, and checking out their fantasy lineups.
“You come to the ballpark, you have breakfast on the field, you’re watching football on the big screen, on a football Sunday,’’ Schwarber said, “what else do you want?’’
Yes sir, the Cubs have gotten plenty of practice staying loose over the years, reaching the NLCS two years ago, winning the World Series last year, and back in the playoffs again this year.
“Being able to be out here and run around,’’ Schwarber says, “it’s fun. This is a fun time of year. I don’t think you’re going to see any kind of worry at all out of your team.
“You’re not going to see us panic.’’
No, certainly not with Maddon at the helm, who continues to remind his team: “Don’t ever permit the pressure exceed the pleasure.’’
“Lighten the mood a little bit,’’ Maddon said of the breakfast spread. “You don't have to thicken it up. You don't have to tighten them up. You don't have to add thoughts or concerns or worries. Why would you ever want to do that? Just keep going the other way. Keep doing what we've been doing all year.
“I think we have been really good at getting hit in the jaw a little bit and moving on. And I'm looking forward to that again [Monday] night.’’