Growing up, so many of us baseball fans fantasized about being up to bat in Game 7 of World Series ... in the bottom of the ninth ... in a tie game. These are fantasies in the truest form considering the fact that 99.9% of us will never experience that, even those athletically gifted enough to play professionally.
Kipnis had that very opportunity when he played for Cleveland during the 2016 World Series.
Game 7. Bottom of the ninth. Tie game. Facing fireballer Aroldis Chapman with a 1-1 count, Kipnis drilled a ball that on TV looked like a walk-off home run, but in reality landed firmly short of the fence, and in foul territory.
As we all know, the Cubs went on to win that game, and in turn the World Series that year.
After a long and successful career in Cleveland, Kipnis signed a contract this past offseason with his hometown Chicago Cubs.
We had a wide-ranging conversation about growing up in the Chicagoland area, learning his competitive spirit from sleep-away camp athletics, "Go Cubs Go," almost killing a guy, and a whole lot more.
And two weeks ago, Kipnis joined Jason Heyward, Sam Acho, Mitchell Trubisky, Jonathan Toews and more Chicago Athletes at "By the Hand Kids Club" in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. They met with 30 kids from three local organizations along with several Chicago police officers in an effort to listen, learn and start a dialogue with the underprivileged communities throughout Chicago. We spoke more about how he got involved with that, and how he plans to continue to stay active and engaged moving forward.
Please enjoy my conversation with the pride of Glenbrook North High School, Jason Kipnis.
P.S. .... you may have noticed in the excerpt above, but we've got a new theme song! It's written and recorded by my wonderfully talented cousin, John Merikoski.