How does constant losing affect the psyches of young athletes? It’s a fear that some Chicago Cubs fans have with Starlin Castro. Since Castro made his MLB debut in May 2010, he has been a part of three uncompetitive Cubs teams. From 2010-12, the Cubs’ have gone from 75 wins to 71 wins to 61 wins.
Another young player who has encountered challenging times is Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo was part of that 61-win Cubs team. In 2011, Rizzo was part of a 71-win San Diego Padres team. He has been a part of two teams who are trying to build from the ground up.
Rizzo has avoided much of a spring training losing streak that has the Cubs sitting with a Cactus League record of 6-10. He has been playing with Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. With a 2-1 record, Italy advanced to the second round of the tournament.
For Rizzo, this international baseball competition is a good experience. This is a competitive baseball tournament that means much more to his fellow Italians than Cactus League games mean to Americans. It’s good to see him thrive in such a competitive and meaningful environment. Furthermore, it’s a relief to see Rizzo far away from whatever has affected the health of Cubs players.
It’s a small sample size, but it’s nice that Rizzo gets to feel the excitement from playing with a winning team—at least during the first round of the World Baseball Classic. Fans can hope that this experience will motivate him to become the best player that he—and his teammates—can become.