Updated: Feb 5, 2020
My Secret Crush is a segment where the Cubs DNA team shares just that, their secret attractions to sports figures.
My secret crushes involve players who may not be good-looking or the best player, but someone who's on the fringe, who's pretty average overall, maligned by the fan base but killing it at times. My secret crush in 2015 and 2016 was Trevor Cahill. He came to the Cubs mid-season in 2015 and was used as a long man and in spot starts, piggybacking mostly with Mike Montgomery in 2016, to some success.
Remember this defensive gem? Look at that stretch!
Gif courtesy of the MLB
He wasn't bad, just a little Tubby.
Photo: John Durr/Getty Images
My secret crush in 2019 was Tyler Chatwood. Oh, Chatty. He had such a horrible 2018, but every once in a while, you saw some flashes of brilliance, and I wished he could have harnessed it for success. (But then again, if he was good, we may have never had #HottieHamels join the team.)
Chatty in 2019, however, was a different story. He was better able to control his pitches, walked far less batters, and also able to get batters to ground out on his sinkers, enough to earn trust from Joe to close out or hold some games. I think his #revengeszn was pretty successful.
Photo: USA Today
My secret crush circa 2015:
Since 2016, Game 6 NLDS basically EVERYONE has a crush on him. I'll tell you the story about the FIRST time I met him.
But first my Internet record of when my love for Kyle Hendricks began:
Every team's schedule has them with late September baseball but as a kid my birthday has NEVER landed on a home game (and I was a Phillies fan as a kid). So how did I FINALLY get a birthday game? The Cubs had to make up a rainout with the Royals! This is also what I like to think of as the start of the Hendo/Cyle/Professor era/ERA. His ERA was still over 4 here but he went 6 innings and recorded 9 strikeouts. Then 5 days later he diid almost the same exact thing in Milwaukee but this time he only got 8 strikeouts. And he bought his ERA under 4. I remember because I also went to that game at Miller Stadium. Two outings in a row that I was in attendance and his ERA never was over 4 again. Yep, it was the start of a crush!
So now, about that time I rented a car and drove up to the Schaumburg mall and met him for an autograph signing. When it was my turn to get my autograph, I had to think fast! What should I say to him??? I mean he's soooo CUTE!! hahaha.
So I said, "Oh hey there, guess what, I totally convinced my mom that you are the typical California guy who spells his name C-Y-L-E." AND HE TOTALLY LAUGHED AT MY JOKE!!!
SEE HE TOTALLY SMILES!!!!
The second time I met him was in 2017. I went to Anthony Rizzo's Cook Off for Cancer. This time the line to meet Kyle was one of the longest for all the players! The secret was out! Kyle Hendricks IS a stud!
This time when I met him I told him that his line was so popular that we were considering auditioning off our spot in line to the highest bidder. Always gotta try and make him blush. And yes that security guard behind us was definitely worried I was a Stage Five Clinger!
Just in case I can't figure out an excuse to share this at another time.....check out the gift Secret Santa gave me in 2017!!
My secret crush is a little unconventional when considering the other confessions in this post. My secret crush is an actress that loves baseball and the Bears! That's right, it's Annie Wersching.
You may know her as 24's Renee Walker, Marvel’s Runaways Leslie Dean, Emma on Timeless, Mama Salvatore on TVD, Tess in The Last of Us, Brasher in Bosch, or Kelly Neiman on Castle! I remember her from 24 and thought she was going to be a kickass replacement for Jack Bauer. Unfortunately, that never happened but she did reappear on my current favorite show, Bosch. There's one small problem with her baseball fandom. She's a Cards fan. Boooooooo. :) I guess she's disqualified. So that leaves me to my Cubs crush, Robel Garcia.
I mean, you dream on that kind of power from 2B but the real reason he's my Cubs crush is his story. Dude was playing on the Italian National team last year and just crushing it. So, the Cubs took a chance and signed him to a minor league deal. He kept hitting and kept hitting and earned his way to Chicago where he OPS'd .775 in just 80AB. I don't know what the future holds for him, but I hope he sticks around next season. How can you NOT root for the guy?
For all my tough talk about heavy metal and surly Reds first basemen, at heart I'm actually a goodie two shoes. No, really. The harshest word you'll probably hear me utter is "bullcrap," and even then I feel really bad about it and will probably apologize and tell you to have a nice day afterwards. That's why deep down, my secret crush is on the man who speaks my language.
Yes he's the World Series MVP, but I also get a little melty over a man who will take nearly an entire season off to make sure his kids are OK during a particularly rough family crisis. That, my friends, is a real man. Upon his return, he spent 15 minutes signing autographs for fans in South Bend just because he's a great human being.
Plus, Zo can get a little sassy when you push him, which I love about him. He's been ejected from a game exactly one time in his career, after a particularly bad called third strike in 2018, and it was for telling the umpire that calls like that are the reason players want an electronic strike zone. Ejected for wanting RoboUmps! That's amazing! He also went on a personal crusade to stick it to The Man after MLB gave him static over wearing his black, custom P.F. Flyer cleats during games on Saturdays. Zobrist wore the shoes as a tribute to the classic baseball film "The Sandlot" and the character Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, and MLB put the kibosh on the shoes for a bit because they, and I quote, "weren't his team's uniform colors." This didn't sit well with Zo, who requested a meeting with MLB brass that ultimately resulted in a league-wide relaxing of the rules about shoe colors. My Zo is a revolutionary!
Of everyone leaving the Cubs this offseason, this is the man I'll miss most. Love you, Zo!
James: I was under the impression this was a girls only article. But then Matt answered. So I guess I should too. I don't really have one as I'll call them out when I see them. But Anthony Rizzo, David Ross, and Dexter Fowler are pretty hot.
Dillon Maples. I like my men wild and good looking.