When breaking down the year that was in Chicago sports, 2016 will forever be defined as the Year of the Cub.
Sorry, other Chicago teams and athletes, but there's no way around it. From spring training until ... well, we'll let you know when it winds down. The city always fantasized about how spectacular it would be if the Cubs ended their drought of more than a century, and what we're learning is that people never get tired of talking about it.
Which is awesome, especially for someone like catcher David Ross. The recent retiree will drop a memoir in May, which got us thinking about whom we'd like to see follow in his footsteps.
5. JAKE ARRIETA
Here's a pitcher who's obsessed with keeping in shape, who rides a motorized bike and who makes bets that lead to actual tattoos.
"Not ideal.. but a bet is a bet," Arrieta tweeted about his new Coastal Carolina ink, paying off a wager he made with teammate Tommy La Stella.
And if someone criticizes him on Twitter (cough, Stephen A. Smith, cough), watch out.
Most anticipated chapter: The one about his photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue. Honorable mention goes to his home run off Madison Bumgarner in the NLDS.
4. JOE MADDON
Any list of this type must include a book by the team's whimsical manager. (And yes, Maddon is about the only coach in pro sports who can be described as "whimsical.") He's also probably the least likely manager to lean on a ghostwriter.
Most anticipated chapter: Anything about his inner dialogue. Managers' decisions are picked apart incessantly, so we'd be dying to know why he went in this or that direction.
"It's fascinating to me regarding the second-guessing because the only reality I know is that we won," Maddon told the Tribune. "That's the one reality that I do know. We have often times talked about outcome. If you had done something differently, would it have turned out better? But better than winning, I don't know what that is."
Then you have Maddon's charitable efforts, which lead us back to the whimsical part.
"I wanted to infiltrate Red Sox country," Maddon told Cubs.com, laughing, about why his efforts expanded to parts of Florida that include the Red Sox's spring training home.
3. MIGUEL MONTERO
There must be something about catchers; they tend not to give a [bleep] what people think, and they speak their mind.
Most anticipated chapter: Take your pick, but we'll start with the one on his RBI single in the 10th inning of Game 7 that increased the Cubs' lead to 8-6.
"You shouldn't load the bases to get to me," Montero told the Tribune.
Wow, that's some serious confidence from a career .259 hitter with 120 home runs in 11 seasons—confidence we'd love to read more about.
2. JASON HEYWARD
For a guy who hit only .230 in the regular season and .104 in the postseason, he played a pretty instrumental role in this title run.
Most anticipated chapter: The Speech, obviously. To hear the Cubs tell it, they wouldn't have won Game 7 without Heyward's pep talk during the rain delay.
The Cubs have tiptoed around specifics, however: "I thought he hit the nail on the head," pitcher Jon Lester said. "I think that should stay between us."
When the time is right, however, no doubt we'll get the whole virtual transcript, raw language and everything.
"I just had to remind everybody who we are," Heyward said. "... We never worry about wins or losses, we just worry about how we're going to go out there, have fun, compete, be right there for the guys next to us and not take the situation for granted."
1. KRIS BRYANT AND ANTHONY RIZZO
The only thing that could be better than a book written by one World Series champion Cub is a book penned by two of them. "Bryzzo" already has a fake souvenir business, so why not a memoir?
Rizzo's victory over cancer is just the tip of the iceberg. Both players were MVP candidates this season, they're just 24 (Bryant) and 27 (Rizzo) years old and their bromance appears completely genuine.
So does their passion for the game in general, captured perfectly by Rizzo's admission to Ross in the dugout during Game 7.
"I'm an emotional wreck. ... I'm in a glass case of emotion right now."
That's basically how all of Chicago would feel when they pick up this book.
Most anticipated chapter: The one that covers Bryant's upcoming wedding, where Rizzo will be in the party. We'd quote that more often than "Wedding Crashers."
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