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We want to get to know the “real” Anthony Rizzo, outside of the uniform.

Alright! Over some Gatorades?

Exactly. What is your flavor of choice?

Blue or yellow. I’ll take the yellow [lemon-lime]. 

We’re here to talk about your foundation’s second annual Cook-Off for Cancer. What moments do you look forward to most in your charity work?

That right there; seeing all of the kids. I’ve built relationships with them, so seeing them get bigger and healthier while [seeing that same journey for] myself is pretty cool.

Do you cook yourself often? 

A little bit, but I’m a big momma’s boy so I usually just go to their house. 

Favorite dish that mom cooks for you?

Rigatoni and marinara sauce. And some chicken cutlets!

Many kids dream of becoming a MLB player. Why do you think you were one of the lucky few who made it?

I think having a good support team: my family, my friends, the guys in the clubhouse, the coaches. This game is so mental so as much as you can not think about what’s going on—whether you’re doing great or whether you’re doing awful—and just kind of clear your mind outside of baseball, that’s what helps the most when you get out on the field.

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Throughout your battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, what lifted your spirits?

Food. Going through chemo is so different for everyone. They said that I was going to lose my hair. I didn’t lose my hair. They said that I wouldn’t have an appetite, but I did have an appetite. They said that I was going to lose weight, and I gained weight. I always ate brownies, my mom’s pasta and milkshakes. That’s basically all I ate—and subs—for like six months because that’s what comforted me.

Do you get recognized when you’re out on the streets of Chicago? 

You know what? When people ask me if I’m Anthony Rizzo I go, “Sometimes. It depends if you want me to be. I could be!” I feel like I’m a little more low-key and I just have a shaved head, so I kind of fit in with the younger people. 

So you don’t get many Sox fans giving you a hard time? 

I’ll hear it, but I’m pretty good at tuning that out. I try not to give people the time of day if they try to be idiots or what not. But I don’t mind it, it’s all fine.

Is it odd to read press about how the city is watching you grow up?

I don’t read much of that anymore. That’s something I’ve learned— you can’t read what everyone writes about you because you’ll go crazy. But yeah, I think when I first came to Chicago I had said that I’m going to grow up here. Hopefully I’ll just continue to grow up and become the player that I can be.

What are you doing after a game when you’re on the road? Do you often venture out?

Yeah, absolutely. I think—especially in baseball—if you just sit cooped up in a hotel room or even here in Chicago in your place you’re going to go crazy, so you need to go out and socialize a little bit … But it depends on what city we’re in. There are some cities that are better [to go out in] and others that are not as fun. For the most part you just hang out in the hotel with the guys.

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When you’re socializing, what can we find you sipping on?

You know, lately it’s just been soda water with a lime to throw everyone off and pretend like I’m drinking. That way people don’t make fun of you for not drinking, which is ridiculous. But [when I am drinking it’s] usually like a Crown and ginger ale.

Given the chance to trade spots with another Chicago athlete for a day, who are you choosing?

Probably Brandon Marshall. I’d get to run some routes at Soldier Field. He’s a good guy too. I like him a lot. He’s a great football player and I respect his game a lot.

Do you ever get to just take in a game as a fan? 

Baseball? No. I’ve got to enjoy the Blackhawks and Bulls. I’ve never been to a Bears game yet, but it’s nice to go to other games. I’m still a huge sports fan so I still love baseball, football, soccer and hockey.

Much of your time is spent raising funds and giving back, but what is something you bought for yourself that you’d consider to be your most prized material possession?

I just got a house in Florida so that’s definitely it. I finally moved out of my parents’ house which was not easy, but it’s just right around the corner … There’s not a time I go home when my own fridge at my house is not stocked from [my mom].

Having now met many of your idols from growing up, who do you still look up to in the game? 

You look up to more of the veteran guys. Getting to play with [Alfonso] Soriano the last couple of years was special. You look up to him because he works so hard. I played against Derek Jeter who I was the biggest fan of growing up so it was crazy getting to meet him. We’re playing against teams who are our rivals but I respect greatness, honestly. When guys’ careers are going well it’s fun to watch whether it’s on our team or another team. Obviously we want to win, but I know how hard it is to be great at this game.

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Do you have a girlfriend?

I don’t have a girlfriend! And I don’t have kids! That was a rumor too for awhile. Last year everyone was like, “Do you have two kids?” I’m like, “No!!” So no, I don’t have a girlfriend.

How do you ask a girl out on a date?

Oh, man. I don’t know. It’s tough nowadays. Lately I’ve been going with the phone call because girls don’t expect phone calls anymore. Everyone wants a text or says, “Oh, I’ll text you,” but I’ll call them. I’m gonna bring it back to when I was young where I had to call their parents’ house and say, “May I speak to…”

So no Tindering for you?

[Laughs] No, I haven’t been on Tinder. I downloaded it just to see what it was and it was so ridiculous! I’m not getting into that. But my friends love it!

Ideal first date scenario?

You want to keep it casual. Maybe just get a drink at a bar or something.

Which neighborhood do you live in?

Lincoln Park. 

Do you have any pets?

No, I don’t. My parents have a cat, but I don’t.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be? 

I’ll go with sports, so probably Babe Ruth. Yeah, I’d kick it with him for a little bit.

As for someone outside of sports? A celebrity crush that comes to mind?

Mila Kunis is getting married, so she’s out the door now. They were at the game last year.

That was your shot!

I know. I hit a home run and everything! And she didn’t budge!

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PHOTOGRAPHY: KIRSTEN MICCOLI

 

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