The Bond Between Cubs Lester and Rizzo is Deeper than Baseball
Although they do a lot of ribbing each other in the dugout and on the field, the bond between the Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Jon Lester goes deeper than just their love for baseball.
It started way back in 2008 when 18 year old Anthony Rizzo, just diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer) was invited to Fenway Park to visit the Red Sox.
ESPN says that in his visit to the clubhouse during a rain delay between the Red Sox and Brewers he met Jon Lester. Theo Epstein, then the Red Sox General Manager, arranged the meeting because he wanted Jon to speak to the kid and give him some encouragement.
You see Jon Lester himself heard those same awful words "You have cancer" two years prior and he fought and beat "anaplastic large cell lymphoma-then came back the next year and started the World Series-clinching game against Colorado."
Jon saw his cancer as a sort of competition he needed to win he said "It was like me going against a team." He told Rizzo the secret to his success in beating cancer was not knowing the statistics or survival rates or any of that stuff, all he wanted to know was "what he needed to do to win."
Lester also shared that he didn't let the cancer and treatments stop his life. When he could he continued to do the things he loved to do as he did before the dreaded word cancer was ever spoken into his life.
Rizzo said hearing that from Jon "was everything I needed to hear...I was thinking the same thing: 'I have to do whatever it takes to get this out of me.' He beat his cancer; I knew I could too." Later that summer Rizzo did beat his cancer as it went into remission.
Although they wouldn't see each again for five years, Lester says that Rizzo is the reason he came to the Cubs.It was because of their connection on that rainy May day in 2008.
Teammates say the two are like brothers. "Lester is the serious one with the big heart; Rizzo is the fun one who doesn't want anyone left out."
Kris Bryant says that "Jon helped Anthony through a very tough time, so they have a relationship none us can have. They're leaders for this team, and their past experiences shaped that."
Manager Joe Maddon says "Those two have a bond that sets them apart. None of us can truly say they know what the other guy has been through. They do."
It's that bond and strength that has helped pull each other as well as the Cubs team through tough spots. Frankly, I believe that attitude is why the Cubs have gotten to where they are today in the World Series.
Let's go Cubs!