Chicago Cubs: Yu Darvish does little to dispel ‘mental weakness’ label

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

I’ve stood by Yu Darvish unwaveringly since he joined the Chicago Cubs. But his comments to the Los Angeles Times have shaken my faith in the right-hander.

Sometimes, you just need to shut your mouth. It’s better to say nothing than say something that doesn’t need to be said in the first place. Apparently, Yu Darvish never got the lesson my father pounded into me as a child. But, after his recent interview, I bet the Chicago Cubs wish he had.

Darvish felt the need to vent to the Los Angeles Times before a game at Dodger Stadium this week. And, to be blunt, he comes off as weak, unable to handle the slightest pressure and too concerned about what others think of him.

Where to start? Okay, here.

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"“I won’t go to the front of the dugout,” he said before the game at Chavez Ravine. “I’ll stay in the back or in the clubhouse where fans can’t see me.”"

Leave the past – kill it if you have to

You… Sigh. Wait. You’re scared of the fans of a team you don’t even play for anymore? Because of something that happened last fall and is in the past in its entirety? Wonderful. That’s exactly what I want to hear.

We all know the story. Darvish carved up the Diamondbacks and Cubs in the first two rounds of the postseason. Then, he imploded against the Astros, who torched him in Game 7 for five runs, giving Houston their first-ever World Series championship.

Sure, he hold an infamous place in Dodgers history now. But to cower in fear instead of moving forward with life? That’s hardly a promising sign for a guy Chicago committed $126 million to over the next six years.

And when the Cubs signed him, what was his first concern?

"“The first thing I looked at was when the Cubs would play the Dodgers,” he said."

A staunch defender, now beyond irritated

This guy’s going to give me an aneurysm. And the worst part is I’ve tried to give him the benefit of the doubt at every turn. When commenters feel the need to light him up and call him a bust on our Facebook page, I usually tell them to shut up and wait more than two months to evaluate a six-year contract.

To be honest, I tell members of this very site the same thing on a fairly regular basis. But then, Darvish goes off and quite literally proclaims to the world that he’s terrified of his former team and their fans.

"“I’m a little scared of how that frustration is building and building,” he said. “I wondered the entire time, ‘What’s going to happen if I pitch in L.A.?’”"

To fail is to be human – learn that & accept it

Everybody fails. There’s no exception to that rule. And the true leaders and competitors of the world understand that and push through the hard times. Missing the series with his injury, Darvish  now pushes that anxiety onto a potential matchup here come October.

"“In the playoffs, it will be worse,” Darvish said. “It wouldn’t be as bad in the playoffs if I could pitch in this series. The frustration of the fans is pent up at this point. If they could release some of that frustration now, I think it wouldn’t be as bad later.”"

This isn’t a public stoning we’re talking about here. It’s a disappointed fanbase. And while I understand wanting to live up to expectations, at a certain point, you have to own what happened and put it behind you.

Otherwise (and this is where we’re at now), you risk this one event corrupting your entire life, or in this case, career. Cubs fans were quick to drop the hammer on Darvish after a slow start and two separate stints on the disabled list. And, perhaps these individuals were quick to judge.

Next: Evaluating Darvish's rehab start in South Bend

But, now, Darvish himself has dug that hole deeper than ever, throwing fuel on the flames of these fans who already believe Theo Epstein made the biggest mistake of his career in signing him. And, I hate to be the one to let you in on this secret, Yu, but there’s only one way out of the flames.