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25 Reasons to Love These 25 Cubs

Forget the ERAs and RBIs. Here are some endearing personal facts about everyone in the Cubs roster.

Cubs players from left: Starlin Castro, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo   Photos: (Castro and Rizzo) Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune; (Bryant) Sergio Salgado/Chicago Tribune

Have you ever looked in a major league dugout? The same guys who are programmed to show no emotion on the field often act like goofy kids when the cameras aren’t there. Which is exactly what they are, by the way: goofy kids. To remind you of the fact that they are actual human beings with emotions, I dug up one personal detail about each of the 2015 Chicago Cubs.

With every pitch he throws, one of Jake Arrieta’s nipples pops out of the tank top under his uniform—hence all the fidgeting between pitches.

Infielder Javier Báez and his two brothers got tattoos of the Major League Baseball logo to illustrate their common goal as kids.

While playing in a minor league game in 2014, outfielder Quintin Berry hit a single then started arguing with the umpire, who tossed him from the game. Instead of leaving, Berry ran the bases and slid into home.

Rookie third baseman Kris Bryant earned the title of salutatorian of his high school class in Las Vegas. When he learned how badly another classmate wanted it, he stepped aside.

After games, pitcher Trevor Cahill likes to watch movies until 4 a.m.

Ando En La Versace,” the walk-up song by Omega El Fuerte that plays when infielder Starlin Castro comes to bat, is so catchy that even opposing players have been caught clapping along.

Left fielder Chris Coghlan’s father died in a car crash when he was 15. “I’d rather have my dad than be playing in the major leagues any day of the week,” he told the Palm Beach Post in 2010.

Outfielder Chris Denorfia most likely holds the record for the shortest inside-the-park home run in baseball history. While playing for the San Diego Padres in 2010, he chopped the ball into the ground in front of home plate. It somehow got over the head of third baseman Casey Blake and past left fielder Scott Podsednik.

Center fielder Dexter Fowler’s favorite food is the Polynesian sauce at Chick-fil-A.

Pitcher Justin Grimm recently proposed to his girlfriend, a former gymnast named Gina Nuccio. She apparently said yes.

Pitcher Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks turned down a contract with the California Angels to attend Dartmouth, where he majored in microeconomics and minored in math.

Center fielder Austin Jackson’s father built a 70-foot batting cage in their Denton, Texas backyard so that Austin and his brother Jamal could practice when they were kids.

Just before his senior year of high school in New Jersey, second baseman Tommy La Stella quit baseball and got a job on a farm, part of which entailed tending to a donkey. “Every night when I would go to feed this donkey . . . I was thinking, ‘What am I doing?’” La Stella told mlb.com. “I could be playing ball, and I could be going to college the next year.”

At pitcher Jon Lester’s goodbye party after leaving the Boston Red Sox, he left a note on the window of Boston’s Highball Lounge that read: “Love you, Boston, thanks for all the memories, Jon Lester, 5-19-08 No Hitter, 2007 Champ, 2013 Champ, Cowboy As (Bleep).”

Catcher Miguel Montero showed up at Arizona Diamondbacks training camp in 2012 with a customized Ferrari 458 Italia. Three years later, it appears he sold it to then-teammate Mike Olt.

Pitcher Clayton Richard, a former Mr. Baseball and Mr. Football as a high schooler in Indiana, has a poodle mix named Bell.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo is addicted to a game on his phone called Crossy Road, which is similar to Frogger. “I wish I could just sit in the dugout with it,” he told Rolling Stone last April.

Pitcher Fernando Rodney, long known for his “bow and arrow” routine following big outs, had never actually shot a bow until receiving an archery lesson in 2012.

Closer Héctor Rondón blew out his elbow in 2010, then fractured it again while rehabbing from surgery. Five years later, when his fastball hit 100 miles per hour in a September game, he won a bet with Cubs bullpen catcher Chad Noble. No one will say what the bet entailed.

Veteran backup catcher David Ross has described his role on the team as the designated high-fiver. “I’m the best high-fiver there is,” he told ESPN.com. “I give great high-fives. That’s my role. I give the best high-fives.”

Rookie Addison Russell once wore this sweater. 

While rounding first base on a home run in September, catcher Kyle Schwarber seemed to slip on an invisible banana peel. 

Right fielder Jorge Soler hit a home run in the first at-bat of his major league career, with his Cuban-born father in the stands in Cincinnati. Just watch the irresistible dugout celebration that followed.

After a particularly stressful game against the St. Louis Cardinals this September, manager Joe Maddon told reliever Pedro Strop to “take a beach day.” He was very serious about that. 

When Wrigley Field temporarily turned into a petting zoo last month, pitcher Travis Wood—who was photographed with a sloth—demanded that Maddon allow animals in the clubhouse. Maddon told him to “be patient,” perhaps alluding to a postseason celebration.

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