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Former Illinois Baseball assistant coach (and Nationals GM) Mike Rizzo wins World Series

We found the connection!

MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Nationals traded former Illini pitcher Tanner Roark to the Reds last year.

So we didn’t have that rooting interest.

But don’t fear!

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was once a graduate assistant coach with Illinois back in 1984 before becoming a scout. That came after a three-year playing career in the minors.

Rizzo has been the Nats GM since 2009 and was promoted to the President of Baseball Operations in 2013. Rizzo, 58, is a Chicago native and played his college ball at Saint Xavier.

And he built this team. He got his deep pitching staff. He chose to not re-sign Bryce Harper. He got 21-year-old Juan Soto.

And he traded away the only Illini in the Majors right now.

And now? He’s a World Series champion!

Congrats, Mike and Nationals nation!