Anthony Rizzo lets the kids play: Cubs superstar surprises Little Leaguers in Chicago
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is taking the MLB's "let the kids play" mantra literally.
The 2016 World Series Champion and retired Little Leaguer surprised a group of young Chicago-area baseball players on Tuesday by inviting them to run drills and imparting some invaluable wisdom.
Rizzo told AOL.com that his main advice for current Little Leaguers is simple, and it's the same advice that he received when he was in their shoes: Just have fun.
"My mom and dad always made it very easy for my brother and I to have fun in all sports, and baseball was no different," he said. "We always had a good time, we were always laughing, we were always the team that had the most fun. That's what being a kid is all about."
See photos of Rizzo with the Little Leaguers:
If fun is what being a kid is all about, then photographing that fun is what being a parent is all about.
Rizzo partnered with Canon, the official printer and camera of Little League, to help the families of young players capture memories that will last a lifetime.
"I have all these pictures, especially at my parents' house, printed out on the refrigerator and all in frames," Rizzo said of his Little League career, noting that it's even easier today to quickly print photos instead of waiting days or weeks for the film to be developed.
Now in the age of cell phones and social media, photos and moments from Little League up to the majors can be posted online in the blink of an eye. That's especially true for MLB players, whose stellar plays and animated reactions to calls are on Twitter before the game is even over.
"It's about embracing that and embracing that culture," Rizzo said of social media. "As kids develop and get older, it's going to become more natural."
The three-time All-Star and his family still decorate their homes with printed photos of major life moments. He says some of his most cherished photos came from the 2015 National League Wild Card game, when the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, and, of course, from the team's World Series run the following season.
"I have a great picture of me and my dad and mom smiling and hugging," he said of the historic 2016 World Series victory. "That's one I'll cherish forever."
Photo: Ezra Shaw via Getty Images