'Jeopardy'star James Holzhauer pays a visit to Wrigley Field
James Holzhauer, the former Naperville resident who enjoyed a 32-game winning streak on "Jeopardy" this year, made an appearance Saturday at Wrigley Field to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
Before firing a strike, Holzhauer stopped to chat briefly with the Daily Herald.
No, he did not answer everything in the form of a question.
"The Cubs asked me, and I was not about to tell them no," Holzhauer said as he stood on the field with a group of friends. "They were really nice, actually, to work with my schedule. This was the week I was going to be in town to visit with friends and family. It happened to line up with a homestand, so it worked out really well for everyone."
Holzhauer wore a Cubs jersey with the number 32 on the back, symbolic of his 32-game winning streak that netted him more than $2.4 million.
"I definitely grew up with the Cubs," he said. "It was great they had afternoon baseball because that's when I was allowed to watch TV. Coincidentally, "Jeopardy" was also on in the afternoon back then, so I kind of developed my lifelong passions at an early age, just by availability."
Introduced on the show as a professional gambler from Las Vegas, Holzhauer is gearing up for "Jeopardy's Tournament of Champions," which will air in November.
He sounded a bit like an athlete when asked about that.
"It's going to be tough," he said. "Everyone who's watched pro sports playoffs understands that the best team doesn't always win the tournament. Just because you feel good going in doesn't mean someone can't punch you in the mouth on your way up there. So I think it will be a good competition."
Holzhauer had an interesting strategy in playing "Jeopardy." Instead of starting at the top of the board and the lower-money values, he started at the bottom, getting the big-money answers correct and building up large leads early in games.
"You can call it analytics," he said. "I would say it's more of a gambling background. I played a lot of poker tournaments. There are great advantages to having a lot of chips that you don't get if you have a small stack. The gambler mindset, I think, was the big thing."
There has been talk that a future of working in a baseball front office could be in store for Holzhauer.
"It might be," he said. "I don't want to leak out too many secrets, but there have been some teams in contact with me. If the right fit comes along, I'd at least have to consider it."
When asked if one of those teams could be the Cubs, he smiled and gave a polite "no comment."