The rallying cry that has powered Ian Happ’s insane success in Cincinnati
“Ian Happ never leaves Cincinnati without a homer.”
It’s a phrase that bounced around the Cubs dugout Monday evening and grew louder when Happ connected for a clutch 3-run shot in the 7th inning.
The Reds had just fought back into the game and the Cubs entered the 7th inning clinging to a 1-run lead. Happ’s homer gave them some much needed breathing room en route to a 7-4 victory.
That phrase has become a rallying cry for Happ and the Cubs. The switch-hitting outfielder attended college at the University of Cincinnati so every trip to Great American Ballpark is a homecoming of sorts.
Kyle Schwarber initially came up with the phrase and Happ joked that he would absolutely be texting his former teammate Monday night.
“It’s a staple,” Happ told Taylor McGregor in a postgame interview on the field. “You come to this ballpark and you want to leave with at least one. Some really good swings today from that first at-bat on. Being able to clip one and give us a lead there comfortable enough, that was great.”
The rallying cry isn’t quite true — not literally, at least. This week represents Happ’s 12th trip to Cincinnati as a member of the Cubs and he has now come away with homers in 8 of those series.
Whatever way you slice it, Happ absolutely eats up Reds pitching.
Let’s dive into the numbers.
In total, Happ is hitting .351/.456/.816 at Great American Ballpark with 14 homers and 29 RBI in 30 starts.
He has the second-highest slugging percentage against Cincinnati (home or away) in history — behind only some guy named Barry Bonds:
Happ’s OPS at Great American Ballpark is 1.272, better than any other player with at least 125 plate appearances:
His 23 homers against the Reds are the most since the start of the 2017 season, when Happ made his MLB debut:
So what is it about this ballpark that leads to so much success for Happ?
“I dunno,” Happ said. “I went to school here. I’m really comfortable in this city. My mom’s able to come down, which is awesome. I’ve always had great success at this ballpark.”