The folks at BODY ARMOR sports drink, a company Anthony Rizzo has been an investor in since 2016, gave me the opportunity to talk with the Cubs first baseman by phone earlier this week. Here’s a lightly-edited (for clarity only) transcript of our discussion.
BCB: Let’s talk about your workouts, and how you use BODY ARMOR. You’re turning 30 in August, so I’d like to know what kinds of things you’ve done to change your workouts and game preparation routine as you’re getting older, and how does BODY ARMOR work into that?
AR: The older I get, I’m trying to get smarter on my movements and so it’s not about lifting the heaviest weights anymore, it’s doing it functionally and the beginning of that starts with hydration. As long as I’m hydrated I feel like my body will be all right. So I’m going to do what I need to do for getting ready for a season and throughout the season, and that’s why BODY ARMOR works so great with me. During my workouts I’ll have a BODY ARMOR Sportwater to fuel me through the workout. It’s good water. I know that water’s water, but the hydration is the key to functional movement and everything else I’m trying to do, and it helps my body recover quicker.
BCB: What’s your assessment of the Cubs season so far, and how do you see your divisional opponents and the pennant race shaping up?
AR: It’s going to be fun again! It should go down to the wire, the whole National League is good, so every day shapes up as a battle. 14 of the 15 teams look like they’re trying for the playoffs, and we’re one of those 14 teams. I think we’re doing a good job at being ready to play every day, we’ve had some ups and downs, but overall we’ve stayed the course.
BCB: Last homestand you hit a home run off the right-field video board, in fact it almost hit right on your name on the Cubs lineup on that board. Do you feel you could ever clear that board?
AR: I think I could, with the right wind and the right pitch to hit and the right swing. Honestly, it feels good to hit balls like that, but as long as it goes over that yellow line, it all counts the same. For the long ones you get a few more style points, but style points don’t really get you anywhere in this game.
BCB: Do you ever go up to the plate trying to hit a home run? You hear guys always say, “I just want to make solid contact,” but do you ever actually try to hit a home run?
AR: There are definitely times where I’m anxious to hit the ball in the air and maybe grip the bat a little bit harder, but overall I’d say when I do get that feeling maybe I should just choke up a little bit because I know I’m going to try to hit the ball a little harder. So then I might ease my swing up, try to be consistent and have thoughtful at-bats and not think about the long ball.
BCB: You’ve hit 16 home runs this year, on pace to have the most you’ve ever had in a season. Are you doing anything different, or is this just one of those things where you hit the ball hard and it goes out of the ballpark?
AR: Honestly, my routine has been solid, I’m not fighting my swing like I have done at times in the past. I’m in a good place and I just want to continue having good at-bats.
BCB: How did you feel about the long rain delay and playing till 1 a.m. in St. Louis last Saturday?
AR: It is what it is — unfortunately we can’t control the weather, so everyone on both sides was in the same situation. It’s tough ending that late since you have another game early, so it’s all about getting some rest and preparing for a quick turnaround the next day.
BCB: Let me switch over to something a bit more fun. How’s married life?
AR: Great, no complaints!
BCB: What do you and Emily do for fun on an off day, or when you have some time away from baseball?
AR: We like to explore everywhere. Go out to eat, the food here in Chicago is amazing. We walk around the city, enjoy the city, get out on the water. And we also like just doing nothing.
BCB: Thanks, Anthony. I appreciate your time, and all the best to you and the Cubs for the rest of the season.
Many thanks to Josh Colfin and Lindsay Schumacher of BODY ARMOR for the opportunity for this interview.