(tongue-in-cheek piece originally published in 2015 – intended to mock reports of Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler rift, which I thought were clickbait fabrications. However, given recent developments, there might have been some fire to that smoke…my bad.)
2-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo remains the face of the Cubs, even as likely 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant is beginning to steal the spotlight. Very real organizational figures that definitely exist admit a rift is developing between the Cubs middle of the order sluggers. The 3 and 4 hitters have gone completely separate ways since the Cubs were swept out of the playoffs by the Mets. Rizzo returned home to Florida to spend time with friends and family while Bryant prefers to dedicate most of his time to longtime girlfriend Jessica Delp. Sources say Rizzo and Bryant refuse to speak to one another since the North Siders’ postseason run fell short of a World Series berth.
“They communicate only via text message and emoji speak,” says the source. “They haven’t even FaceTimed.”
Could Rizzo be miffed that the Cubs are now clearly Bryant’s team? “What does that even mean? That makes zero sense.” says the clubhouse source, avoiding the question altogether.
Still unconvinced of this prevaricated grudge? Look no further than Rizzo’s preferred walk-up song, Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’. Specifically requested by the $41-million dollar lefty first basemen, it played immediately following Kris Bryant at-bats and prior to Rizzo plate appearances. Perhaps Rizzo is trying to send a message to popular new third baseman – This is still my team – thereby creating a musical wedge between the franchise’s marquee players.
Can the relationship be repaired in time for spring training? “They’re just two guys that play together,” the insider says. “They get along exceedingly well. Then they have their own personal lives. Do you hang out with your co-workers every day after work?”
Few signs of this rift subsiding, meaning Theo Epstein his organizational higher-ups might be policing an ugly power struggle in Mesa come March.
In the meantime, the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler-esque storyline will fill up countless hours of our airtime over the next four months.
- Teddy Clickbait, sports rumorologist