O'Donnell: When Ben Zobrist finally speaks, what's he supposed to say?

  • Ben Zobrist, in a game last season against the White Sox, is expected back with the Cubs in the near future. He's been away since May to deal with family issues.

    Ben Zobrist, in a game last season against the White Sox, is expected back with the Cubs in the near future. He's been away since May to deal with family issues. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Updated 8/14/2019 12:45 PM

THERE IS A GROWING CLAMOR among some segments of baseball media for Ben Zobrist to speak.

He is the Eureka!-to-riches Cubs hero who was apparently blindsided early this season by a regrettable marital disconnect.


Zobrist hasn't played for Joe Maddon's ballclub since May 6.

For close to three weeks, he has been resolutely trying to work himself back into major league mindset and manner with ascending steps through the Cubs' minor league system.

He is set to begin play at Triple-A Iowa Thursday.

Reports indicate that at each stop, he has been an affable teammate and retained his five-star status as a refreshingly fan-friendly professional.

But Zobrist has declined to speak to media.

So the press-box din grows.

One extremely capable writer referred to his latest mien as that of "a sphinx."

Some radio sports talkers weave ever-so cautiously around and under his personal circumstance, a few sounding like great white sharks prowling off of Martha's Vineyard.

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But here's the Q.:

When Zobrist finally makes it back to the Cubs, regarding his private life, what's he supposed to say?

Does he go Sam Kinison?

Or bare his soul like an owner of a lonely heart on "Dr. Phil"?

Does he say, "In spring training, I never imagined the next chapter of my life would be 'The Corinthians meet Kathie Lee Gifford'?"

Or does he maintain his dignified silence?

A speculator might suggest that if he and the Cubs are working in coherent concert, when he returns to the team, a precisely crafted statement will thank the media for its restraint during his three-month interlude.

The release will add that he will be addressing baseball-only matters for the remainder of the season.

Reportorial regulars around Addison and Clark say he has more than enough favorable equity with them to easily make all involved want such guidelines to work.


Zobrist, 38, will then get to pursue what will quite likely be the final weeks of a 14-year MLB career in a farewell bubble unimaginable five months ago.

The clamor will end.

And as far as national inquirers, all he will have to remain braced for is TMZ.

SOME STAFF AT ARLINGTON PARK are still trying to summon the spirit to plow on after what one termed, "The dullest and most demoralizing Million Day in the history of the race."

Accentuating the feeling of ongoing decline at the overturned oval was the fact that for the first time ever, the Million itself was next to impossible to find on TV.

The micro-niched TVG presents all AP races in perfunctory manner, so that was one option for the more zapper intense.

Days before the race, Fox Sports 2 -- a D-list subscription-only channel better suited for Tibetan motocross -- agreed to incorporate the Million, The Beverly D. and the Secretariat into its "Saratoga Live" show (featuring ex-MLBer Paul LoDuca).

In its current daze, the Arlington operation is eerily similar to where the Blackhawks were in the final months before Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough skated in to revamp and slap away the blueline blues.

STREET-BEATIN': Notable minimum pricing progression at SeatGeek for Bears games beginning with the host Giants ($8; Friday, Fox, 6:30 p.m.) to the preseason closer against the visiting Titans on Aug. 29 ($24) to the regular-season opener vs. Green Bay Sept. 5 ($369). … With Jim Nantz and Tony Romo CBS's golden NFL tandem for the 2019 season, rounding out the web's superfecta are: Ian Eagle-Dan Fouts, Greg Gumbel-Trent Green and Kevin Harlan-Rich Gannon. No. 8 on the Megan Rapinoe depth chart is Beth Mowins-Tiki Barber . … Waxen Wrigley p-b-p man Len Kasper is doing little to shake that "bland" tag with his periodic time-and-temperature zip-throughs on Lin Brehmer's WXRT-FM (93.1) morning show. He makes listeners long for yet another Greg Solk airing of Sublime's remade "Doin' Time" by Lana Del Rey. … News that Jim Boylen and the Bulls will make one token national TV appearance this season -- Jan. 17 vs. Philadelphia on ESPN -- is a message in a hollow from the NBA's broadcast partners: The locals are boring, irrelevant and miles from nowhere. (A new-mill Heather Graham movie remains more engaging.) … Services for Bob Marcocchio -- who guided many into thoroughbred racing via his Schaumburg-based Assurance Agency -- are Friday afternoon at Rev. Terry Keehan's Holy Family Church in Inverness. Among those Marcocchio assisted: Ron Magers, Frank Calabrese and the late Daily Herald icon Stu Paddock Jr. ... Final legal 420 that Bill Walton remains scheduled to work Friday's Sox-Angels game alongside Jason Benetti (NBCSCH, 9 p.m.). True harmonic convergence if Patty Hearst turns up for some Symbionese Liberation booth chat. … And it's funny that the Kane County Cougars are following "Seinfield Night" -- featuring sitcom vet John O'Hurley and 1,500 bobbleheads of his J. Peterman character -- on Thursday in Geneva with "Dinosaur Night" Friday. A lot of millennials look at anyone making a "Seinfeld" reference as if they're on raptor pension from The Field Museum of Natural History.

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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