Cubs spring training day 1: On a mission back to playoffs

MESA, Ariz. (WISH) — WISH-TV is your home of the Chicago Cubs, and Sports Director Anthony Calhoun is in Arizona this week covering spring training.

On Monday night, Calhoun talked to Cubs team members about their determination to make a run to the World Series.

The Cubs are all about business. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist are on a mission to get the Cubs back to the playoffs and don’t allow the meltdown fans witnessed last year during the final weeks of the season. It’s redemption time for the Cubs.

“Using the tough end of last year as a catalyst to pushing us forward. We are excited and ready. We aren’t looking back but there is extra fire this year,” second baseman Ben Zobrist said.

“We know what it takes to win. Last year we know what happened. So we have that urge and sense of redemption to prove the league wrong again,” said outfielder Albert Alomora Jr. 

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Last year’s season collapse led to speculation that Cubs manager Joe Maddon might not return this year but he’s back and loving this team more than ever.

“One thing that stands out to me about our guys this year is a sense of openness. What are the components of openness? Is it urgency, recommitment, the fact that we hate what happened at the end of last year? I think when you are open like this as an athlete there are other things out there to explore,” said Maddon.

Maddon told News 8 he would be taking more of an ownership role and a more hands-on approach with this year’s team. He said if there’s one thing he wants his team to remember from last year it’s that feeling of what it’s like to to lose in the playoffs. 

The Cubs will open the season on the road against the Texas Rangers on March 28. That game will air on MyINDY-TV. 

The home opener is scheduled for April 8 against the Pittsburgh Pirates — it will air on WISH-TV.