Cubs Players Unhappy With Losing Day Off During '18 All-Star Break Over "Spotlight Game"
Several Cubs players are "not happy that a rough draft of the 2018 schedule features the Cubs playing host to the Cardinals on July 19 -- the Thursday following the All-Star Game -- as part of a 'spotlight game,'" according to Mark Gonzales of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo said, "It’s brutal. I think it’s awful. Look at this year. We needed that (four-day) break." Rizzo pointed out that it will be "tough for those players participating in that 'spotlight' game to fully enjoy the All-Star break with one less day at home." Gonzalez noted teams can be "selected to play the 'spotlight game' only once" during the current CBA, which runs through the '21 season (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/12). Cubs manager Joe Maddon: "I don't think it's a good idea. I'll say that." Gonzales cited a source as saying that the Cubs "will finish the first half" of the season against the Padres in San Diego. That means players chosen to play in the All-Star game at Nationals Park would "fly cross-country to take part in the festivities, then quickly return to Chicago." Maddon: "I just like the idea of four consecutive days off. You saw what it did for us this year" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/13).
WAITING FOR THE WORD: In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer noted Scott Boras, the agent for Cubs SS Addison Russell, believes his client "absolutely" will be cleared by MLB of allegations of domestic violence. MLB officials said that the investigation remains "ongoing." Russell was "accused in a third-party Instagram post of physically abusing his wife" over two months ago. It is "unclear why the process has taken this long without reaching a resolution." Boras: "I believe in these types of events that we’ve done our due diligence, and they have to take their time to do theirs. And we’re just awaiting their process" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/13).