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A Plea to the Cubs
by Asher B. Chancey, BaseballEvolution.com
April 4, 2007
Ask Derrek Lee how Cubs fans treat players who perform well for the team.
He will probably say it is hero worship.
Ask Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg how the Cubs fans treat players who perform at the top of their game for ten or more years at a time.
They will probably say they were treated like matinee idols.
Ask Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and Billy Williams how Cubs fans treat players who amass impressive career totals and go to multiple all star games.
Those three will say that Cubs fans lavished them with sheer adoration.
Ask Andre Dawson how Cubs fans treat a player who shows them something special in his short time with the team.
He will tell you that they will bow down to you everytime you come to bat.
The best things the Chicago Cubs have mustered at shortstop since Ernie Banks have been Shawon Dunston and Alex S. Gonzalez. Dunston was an exciting and electric player who couldn’t take a walk to save his life and often looked like a child trying to figure out a man’s game at the plate. Dunston had an amazing glove and arm at short, but he was an offensive liability. Gonzalez also had an amazing glove, but dropped the ball when it mattered most.
This season, the Cubs sport an infield made up of Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa, Cesar Izturis, and Aramis Ramirez. Izturis is a defensive whiz, but also a light bat. The Cubs also feature Carlos Zambrano, an ace who has had phenomenal success in Wrigley Field, but becomes a free agent after this season and set a now-passed deadline of opening day for his contract to be renegotiated.
Somewhere out there, the Greatest Baseball Team of All Time possesses the Greatest Shortstop since Honus Wagner, but has him stuck at third base. The Fans of the Greatest Team of All Time have been unimpressed with the performance of this Great Player, booing him and ridiculing him at every opportunity. The Great Player’s teammates have also been less than enthusiastic about him, refusing to openly support him or rebuke the fans that deride him. The Great Player’s position is occupied by an Inferior Player, both at bat and afield, and yet the Fans lavish him with praise, considering him The Next DiMaggio.
And this Great Team also needs pitching.
Carlos Zambrano deserves the opportunity to play in a place where a pitcher with a 5.00 ERA can win 17 games – he would probably win 25 in such an environment. Wrigley Field chews up pitchers and spits them out, and the fact that he has been successful for four straight years in Chicago makes him one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Wrigley Field. But how long can that success last?
Alex Rodriguez deserves to play in a town like Chicago, where players will fill the streets to chant your name, and will dance and sing in praise of your every move. Alex Rodriguez deserves to play shortstop, his natural position, and eventually take his place along side Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan as the three greatest players ever to play the position. He is not a third baseman, and he should not have to play there for another inning.
Yankees fans deserve a player like Zambrano – loud, brash, arrogant and uncontainable – for they are the same. Yankees fans also deserve pitching, and they certainly have none of it this season.
And the Cubs deserve a shortstop. Banks left the position for good in 1962, and it has been 45 long years of Don Kessinger, Mickey Kelleher, Ivan DeJesus, Larry Bowa, Shawon Dunston, Rey Sanchez, Jeff Blauser, Rickey Gutierrez, Alex Gonzalez, Ramon E. Martinez, and Neifi Perez.
Actually, we liked Gutierrez.
It would set all right with the world to give the Cubs a Great Player, to give the Yankees a pitcher, to give the Yankees fans a tenacious chest thumping braggart, to give Carlos Zambrano a team with whom he can win, and to give Alex Rodriguez fans to love who will love him back.
So please, Cubbies, ship Carlos Zambrano to the Yankees in return for Alex Rodriguez. It will set all right with the world.
And perhaps it will make 2008, that anniversary we have been dreading for one hundred years now, something to remember.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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