The non-waiver trade deadline is approaching within the next few hours and there are still a lot of playable cards left in the Cubs deck. Actually, I am writing this on trade deadline eve, so maybe by the time I wake up guys like Jeff Russell, David DeJesus, Kevin Gregg, Shark (yes, lazy, don’t want to spell it all out), Nate Schierholtz, Ronnie Woo-Woo, and the white haired lady with the visor they always show during the seventh inning stretch will have already been cashed in for the prospect of future wins.
Deep down I even feel guys like Junior Lake are being shopped in a weird sort of way. Call me crazy, but he doesn’t really fit the Epstein mold. I don’t see him sticking around if a team liked what they saw and offered up a nice package.
This brings me to a trade that happened last week. The Soriano trade reminds me of death. No, not the death of our beloved ball club, nothing that extreme. It is similar to how we say nice things about somebody after they pass on, we chose to recognize Alfonso for all the great things he did after he was traded and then almost, maybe I am stretching here, but we acted as though we would miss him. I can’t remember an outpouring of affection like this for Soriano in all his years in Cubbie blue.
I will admit, I was saddened a bit.
I think of my Cub fandom in two chapters; the Sosa years and then the Soriano years. I liked Sosa for the first few years of his chapter. He provided a certain amount of excitement that was above and beyond the norm at a sporting event. He was doing things otherworldly there for a while. I feel he may have been doing them with a little help (wink, wink) but that was when the league was the wild west. I am shocked we didn’t see a cyborg jump out of the dugout and take a few cuts for crying out loud.
Sosa’s chapter ended with a teammate smashing his boom box while he drove off the Wrigley player lot before fan appreciation day made it to the latter innings. Also, we must not forget the bewildering and sometimes downright idiotic defense in right field, the at times stupid baserunning, the corked bat, and the late and ever so grand “This is my house!” entrances at spring training. Most everyone on the north side of Chicago felt it was time for Sammy to leave, he had worn out his welcome.
Soriano’s chapter ends with glowing articles written by most of Chicago’s press and bloggers alike. Everybody seemed to speak of his professionalism and love for the game. Teammates couldn’t stop gushing over his leadership and value to the young players.
I begin to wonder, if Soriano had half the contract and gave the same effort and results, would he have been more loved by fans during his time with the team? Could he have been one of the most loved Cubs of all time? If Bob Brenly were not so quick to judge Soriano on his effort and heart during live broadcasts, would some fans see him in a different light?
The question for me will always be, was Soriano unfairly judged due to the size of his contract?
I know I enjoyed the Sosa chapter more, but most of the joy was not because of Sosa’s towering homeruns, but more because of what the team accomplished.
Soriano’s chapter will always be a question of what could have been and what should have been. I begged on more then one occasion, usually while watching a game in frustration, for the team to trade him. Yet, for some odd reason, along with many other fans and writers, I inexplicably miss him.