The right-handed reliever arrived in the Cubs’ clubhouse Sunday morning to find a beach lounge chair, a kiddie pool full of sand, a bottle of suntan lotion and a margarita in front of his locker in the team’s cramped locker room.
His lounge area later grew when an open bottle of beer was set alongside the margarita, followed by an ice bucket filled with four more bottles of beer.
Manager Joe Maddon already said that Strop would be avoided at all costs Sunday after appearing in each of the first two games of the current series against the Cardinals. He had also delivered an inning in four of the last five days, going back to the previous series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I wanted to make it emphatic that he was not playing today,” Maddon said.
Strop has certainly earned his personal day. His 72 appearances this season are second in the National League to the 73 made by Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist. Strop has managed to deliver a 2.95 ERA over his 64 innings of work.
He is also third in the NL in holds with 26, a number that leads the Cubs. Opponents are hitting just .169 against him.
Maddon smiled upon seeing the setup in front of Strop’s locker before the pitcher arrived. And while he was in on the idea of the beach theme, he didn’t actually contribute all the accent pieces.
“I would have done the Bloody Mary had I’d been given the opportunity,” Maddon said. “I’m more of a Bloody Mary kind of guy, although that’s definitely a margarita kind of setting. I did listen to Jimmy Buffet on the way in today, so it all makes sense.”