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July 2013

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COMMENTS

Chet Chat, Vol. 1 – A Tale of Two Cubs

Written by , Posted in General

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.

  • Doug S.

    When the Cubs took the field to start a game at Wrigley, Sosa’s running out to RF to crowd cheers was always a special moment.

    • PLCB3

      When my dad wanted to buy me Cubs tickets for my first ever Cubs game in 2001, I told him I wanted to sit in the bleachers to see Sosa’s sprint out to RF. It really was special. Woody made me a Cubs fan, but Sosa kept me watching the Cubs during their lean years. My first ever Cubs shirt was a Sosa shirt, and I had a huge Sosa poster in my room.

    • AC0000000

      When my dad wanted to buy me Cubs tickets for my first ever Cubs game in 2001, I told him I wanted to sit in the bleachers to see Sosa’s sprint out to RF. It really was special. Woody made me a Cubs fan, but Sosa kept me watching the Cubs during their lean years. My first ever Cubs shirt was a Sosa shirt, and I had a huge Sosa poster in my room.

  • Eddie Von White

    Not only do I love dessert, but I love a heart-felt Chet Chat. Good job. I never had a whole lot of affection for Sosa other than the home runs. But Soriano kind of worked his way into my heart.

  • Eddie Von White

    Not only do I love dessert, but I love a heart-felt Chet Chat. Good job. I never had a whole lot of affection for Sosa other than the home runs. But Soriano kind of worked his way into my heart.

  • PLCB3

    How was the Sosa era more successful than the Soriano era? Both resulted in only 2 trips to the playoffs. You can say the Sosa era helped to create the culture change that has taken place (albeit at a snail’s pace) since 2003, but the 2003 effort was more of a team doing than a Sosa doing. I would argue Wood, Prior, and Zambrano were the MVPs of that team.

  • AC0000000

    How was the Sosa era more successful than the Soriano era? Both resulted in only 2 trips to the playoffs. You can say the Sosa era helped to create the culture change that has taken place (albeit at a snail’s pace) since 2003, but the 2003 effort was more of a team doing than a Sosa doing. I would argue Wood, Prior, and Zambrano were the MVPs of that team.

  • PLCB3

    I know I am going to get bombarded for this, so I am going to try to explain what I mean by culture change:
    The request to have more night games after 2003
    Trying to create more revenue streams
    Spending more on the team since 2003. Such as acquiring Derrek Lee.
    Spending big bucks to field a competitive team, such as the 500M spending spree.
    Pushing for Wrigley Field renovations and trying to create even more revenue streams that other teams have but the Cubs don’t.
    Trying to build a long-term winner

    • What in god’s holy name are you blathering about…

      • PLCB3

        Do you think the things that the Cubs have done since the 2003 season would have happened if not for that season? Such as the request for more night games? How come that didn’t happen until after the 2003 season? Would the Derek Lee trade have been made if not for the 2003 season? After spending on Lee, Ramirez, Sosa, Alou, Barrett, Wood, Prior, Zambrano, and Clement, would the Cubs have spent an additional 8M on Maddux if not for 2003? Would the Cubs have made the Nomar trade if not for 2003? Would the fans have not been so vocal in demanding a winner if not for 2003? If not for the fans demanding a winner, would the Cubs have gone on the half billion dollar spending spree?

  • AC0000000

    I know I am going to get bombarded for this, so I am going to try to explain what I mean by culture change:
    The request to have more night games after 2003
    Trying to create more revenue streams
    Spending more on the team since 2003. Such as acquiring Derrek Lee.
    Spending big bucks to field a competitive team, such as the 500M spending spree.
    Pushing for Wrigley Field renovations and trying to create even more revenue streams that other teams have but the Cubs don’t.
    Trying to build a long-term winner

    • What in god’s holy name are you blathering about…

  • Love the title, by the way.

    • chet

      That’s for you Jswan!

      • Also wanted to say I was following the trade rumors today, hoping to see Ronnie Woo-Woo shipped for a pitching prospect. Maybe Ronnie and the visor gal for Stanton…Miami could use some fans. They probably snowbird in Florida already…it really just makes sense.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        I think Ronnie Woo-Woo winters in Arizona, as I saw him at spring training in Mesa a few years back. I do agree though, it’s too bad we couldn’t unload him at the deadline, even a sack of used baseballs might have been worth it.

    • chet

      That’s for you Jswan!

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I liked the Soriano chapter better it ends on a positive result with the posibility of every one living happily ever after