The Chicago Cubs’ reported acquisition of reliever Aroldis Chapman will leave a bad taste in the mouths of more than a few fans – and that taste has nothing to do with the prospects involved.
Since Joe Maddon was introduced as the Chicago Cubs’ skipper in Nov. 2014, the franchise has assembled a band of players both young and old that have since captured the hearts of fans on the North Side and across the country.
The soon-to-be retired David Ross has ‘adopted’ the likes of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, Javier Baez has begun to blossom into a quality big league piece and on any given day, a different piece of this roster does something to help lead the team toward October.
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We all know the history and what this team is playing for: the shot to bring a World Series championship to the organization for the first time in well over a century. But it’s not just the task at-hand that’s captured a city’s attention – it’s how good natured and amiable this group is, as a whole.
But now, with Aroldis Chapman on his way to the Windy City as part of a five-player deal, everything changes – because it’s not difficult to dislike the hard-throwing lefty – for obvious reasons.
Last October, Chapman is said to have fired a firearm over half-a-dozen times when arguing with his girlfriend. According to police reports, he also choked her and pushed her against a wall. Charges were never filed and, after serving a 30-game suspension, the baseball world seemed ready to let the past be the past.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that has championship aspirations that near those of the Cubs, refused to complete a deal for the southpaw after the news of this incident broke. Eight-plus months later – and here we are – with Chicago sending a group of top talent to the Bronx for Chapman, who is no-doubt one of the best relievers in the game today.
At some point you have to do what’s right – and in this instance, the Chicago Cubs have failed miserably.
We’ve all waited for what we hope this year will bring. Last season, we all thought we were headed to the promised land: that elusive Fall Classic. Then, Chicago ran into Daniel Murphy and the New York Mets and, yet again, we were left wanting more.
With the bullpen appearing to be one of the only weaknesses on the roster Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have compiled for 2016, going after an elite closer makes all the sense in the world.
But at what cost does this acquisition come?
As a lifelong fan, there are few things I wouldn’t do for a title at the Confines, but at some point, you have to be willing to take a stand for what’s right.
And in this instance, the Chicago Cubs have failed miserably.
Too many will point to the fact that charges weren’t ever filed against Chapman, but as anyone with a lick of common sense can tell you, that hardly proves any sense of innocence. Call me what you will, but I can’t back a man who acted this way.
I can’t even stand those who called the argument an “incident.” It dehumanizes what happens: that he put a very well-founded fear in someone he supposedly loves – and threatened her well-being in more ways than one.
Elite athletes continue to receive slaps on the wrists for their outrageous behaviors. If you’re “man enough” to fire a gun in a heated argument with your partner, you deserve to lose your livelihood.
And in acquiring him, the Chicago Cubs have extended Aroldis Chapman’s career – offering him a chance at being a part of baseball immortality should he close out a World Series-clinching win come October.
As a baseball fan, I understand and love this trade. It addressed the team’s biggest weakness and did so in a statement fashion.
But as someone who is about to get married, it makes me sick. There’s no room for this type of person in our world, in the game or on this team.