January 22, 2015 - Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be featured in The Offseason: Hope in Chicago and Miami, the third installment of MLB Network Presents on Tuesday, January 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by Bob Costas, the show offers exclusive profiles of three of the most talked-about names in Major League Baseball today as they face enormous expectations in the upcoming 2015 season.
The program begins with a behind-the-scenes look at Stanton's daily life this offseason, following the signing of his record-setting $325 million contract with the Marlins in November 2014. Joined by MLB Network's Peter Gammons, Stanton speaks in-depth about the traumatic injury that brought an early end to his 2014 season, and looks ahead to getting back on the field in 2015. Stanton also brings the cameras inside his rigorous workout routine as he goes through hitting drills and practice sessions in Southern California.
The episode continues with a trip to Chicago, as Maddon brings MLB Network's Tom Verducci inside his new life as the Cubs' skipper at the annual Cubs Convention in Chicago. Filmed last week in between interviews, autograph appearances, meetings and a coaches Q&A panel, Maddon discusses his decision-making process to leave the Tampa Bay Rays and join the Cubs, and his methodology on managing. Maddon also addresses the heightened expectations in Chicago, including Rizzo's recent comments about how the Cubs will win the NL Central division this season, about which Maddon says, "I totally agree with him that we can win the Central this year. No question in my mind."
The hour-long show concludes with a look at the journey Rizzo has taken from battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2008 to becoming a first-time All-Star with the Cubs last season. Sitting down with MLB Network's Lauren Shehadi at his home in Florida, Rizzo discusses the initial shock of being diagnosed with cancer and how he was able to persevere with the help of his family and the baseball community. Also included are interviews with Rizzo's parents, John and Laurie, as well as Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, who discusses Rizzo's character and the relationship he has with the first baseman, which began when Epstein, then-GM of the Boston Red Sox, drafted Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Cubs ace and cancer survivor Jon Lester and Rizzo also detail the bond they share, beginning with their first-ever conversation at Fenway Park shortly after Rizzo's cancer diagnosis, and continuing up to today, when they became teammates after Lester signed with the Cubs as a free agent in December.
MLB Network Presents is a series of documentaries and access-driven profiles on some of baseball's most prominent personalities that will air on Tuesdays throughout the offseason on MLB Network.