The Current Status Of My Cubs Fandom

It’s no secret that I was a incredibly disappointed when the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman in 2016.  At the time, I wrote a long blog post about the scenario and I think it can be boiled down to this segment here:

“I think everyone feels more strongly about some crimes over others.  Personally, I have extremely low tolerance for these three where I believe others would not share my level of contempt:  Domestic Abuse, Animal Abuse, and Drunk Driving.  I can see no possible rationale for any of those scenarios and I don’t know how I could ever consider someone who performed these acts to be a person of good moral character.”

I explained that I couldn’t get behind the team that claimed they wanted to put together a team with integrity and then decided that this shitty excuse for a human being was fitting of that description.

I decided to sprinkle this post with cards of one of the nicest people the game has ever seen

So, I refused to watch the Cubs from that point forward until game 7 of the World Series.  That was the only game I actually decided to watch, and I cheered when that asshole was denied the last out of the clinching game by giving up the 3-run homer that tied the game.  Thankfully, he would not get the highlight that would play for decades as the curse-breaking final out.  That honor went to Mike Montgomery to a much lesser extent, as well as Bryant and Rizzo, the true faces of the franchise at the time.

Fast forward a little bit and the allegations against Addison Russell began to come out.  I immediately suspended my player collection of him pending completion of MLB’s investigation.  Well, that stayed open for a long, long time and eventually more disgusting details came out about him and Russell gets suspended for not enough games.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say a bad thing about Gwynn

During that suspension, and in the middle of the increased news and blood-boiling details, the Cubs decide to not only retain Addison but give him a raise.  I know they say they have their reasons and that they want to try to help rehabilitate him and have high standards, and blah, blah, blah.  I think it’s all lip service.

Part of what pisses me off so much about this situation is that he’s not even a very good player.  He’s a player with a very little bit of power and not so great speed that gets on base at a rate of .310 and a batting average less than .250.  He committed the 4th most errors last year as well, so the defensive side is far from advertised, and the team doesn’t need him.  We have people that can play the infield, or we could trade for another piece if that’s the concern.  He’s not worth the money or the hassle, but here we are.

In fact, he went out of his way to help a lot of people

So, there’s that.  Then the off-season also saw Joe Ricketts, co-owner of the Cubs, exposed for his racism.  Aside from a brief statement saying these types of views have no place in society, this was brushed aside by the Cubs as a non-factor, but it is a factor.  I get that the the other owners don’t want to act against Joe because they are also Ricketts.  It’s family and they’re supporting their family.  Or, maybe they actually share those views in secret. Who’s to say, really.

What I do know is that just claiming that Joe has no involvement in day-to-day operations isn’t enough for me.  There are ways to sever ties with him, and it should be much easier for the team to do so considering he’s not involved in operations.  Buy him out. Sure he get’s money, but he’s gone.  I’m thinking about Donald Sterling and the Clippers.  Obviously MLB could step in, since the NBA commissioner banned Sterling for life after similar comments came to light.  As far as I’m aware, not even so much as a fine has been levied against Joe Ricketts.

You’d also hope that they’d learn from the Marge Schott situation.  Sadly, she was allowed to have a very active role with the Reds for years after news started to break, but she was eventually made to retire and sell off her stake in the team (about 5-6 years later).

In short, this team is not one I can relate to or root for.  I once again will not be watching or attending any games, but I’m not sure how long that self-imposed ban will last.  It will at least be until Addison Russell is no longer part of the Cubs organization.  I don’t care that he’s banned until early May, I’m not watching in April because I don’t agree with him being part of the team in the first place.  If/when they do part ways with him, I’m not sure yet if I would start watching and following them again.

At this stage, I’m a man without a team.  Maybe I switch allegiances altogether. It’s honestly not off the table.  I used to be a Mets fan as a kid. When I came back to baseball, I went with the local Cubs and it was a fun ride.  My wife has the connection to San Francisco, but…whoops!  Shitty owner over there, too.  I don’t know… there are horrible human beings everywhere and it’s sucking all the enjoyment out of what should be a distraction from all these things, because I can’t help but think about the people that are adversely affected by the actions of these terrible people.

He is very much still missed

So, long story short is that I’m once again deciding to turn a negative into a positive.  Once again, I’ll be donating to charity based on what happens with Russell this season.  Whether he knows it or not, he’ll be playing for Connections for Abused Women and Children – as I’m going to donate $10 for every game that he plays for the Cubs in 2019.  If I can afford it, I’ll up it to $25 for each playoff game.  But, here’s the kicker.  If the Cubs cut ties with him by the July trade deadline, I’ll automatically add a $1,000 bonus.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say.  The player collections are staying (unless something comes out about any of the remaining guys), and I’m still interested in baseball cards, but I don’t have interest in watching games for now and I have no clue when that might change, if ever.

2 comments to The Current Status Of My Cubs Fandom

  • You’re a solid citizen. It’s good of you to speak out about this (and especially to put your money where your mouth is), and from some vaguely similar experience of having a team do things that told me I’m not really the sort of fan they want, I know it’s hard, and probably even harder to have it be fresh like this when we could all really use some happy, positive entertainment-and-hobby-type distractions. I wish you the best in figuring out how to enjoy the game and the hobby moving forward, even if it’s by *not* enjoying the game or the hobby. There’s a lot of “Why are we supporting this stuff, and putting ourselves through all this?” going around these days, and ultimately, we’ve all gotta find what feels right to us.

    • Jon

      Thanks for saying that. Maybe I’m not if I’m not willing to forgive certain actions, but oh well. I wish so many people didn’t see fandom as an all or nothing venture. Obviously these guys aren’t role models to me, but I don’t want to feel a sense of disgust when watching them.

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