The recent trade talks of Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant may just be business as usual for MLB; for fans, it’s about losing the identity of your team.
I felt this way in 1989; four years after the World Champion Chicago Bears won their last Super Bowl. In 1989, the Bears went 6-10, and familiar names like quarterback Jim McMahon were being replaced with names like Jim Harbaugh; Walter Peyton played his final 1,000-yard season three years earlier.
The defensive stalwarts remained on the team, like defensive end Richard Dent and defensive tackles William Perry and Steve McMichael. Still, it was the first time I thought of my favorite team without the heroes that made it so special to me.
It reminds me of how I felt in the offseason when the Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was recently on the chopping block for the Cubs. Imagine some seven-year-old out there saw the Chicago Cubs won it all in 2016.
For kids, Bryant and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and even Cubs shortstop Javier Baez are the identities of this team. They are the reason we, they and all of us go to the ballpark and see the Chicago Cubs. Now imagine those same kids finding out their heroes may be sold or traded? It’s like your friend is saying goodbye, and who knows if or how they’ll return?
In the good old days before free agency, a player tried to stay with his club for his entire career because they became the face of that club, and it meant steady work. Rizzo approached the Cubs about retiring as a Cub earlier this year.
If you are going to be the face of an organization, then the club should talk about longevity, so you don’t have to go anywhere else. I mean, if everyone keeps changing teams and players that are once hated enemies are now joining the Cubs and becoming team members, then who the heck are we cheering for these days?