It’s funny that the Chicago Cubs most intriguing news happens when I go on vacation. On Monday, the Cubs signed the most controversial pitcher in the game today in Aroldis Chapman. It’s still hard to fathom that he’s on the North Side. My views and thoughts are best exemplified in Bleed Cubbie Blue’s fantastic piece on this issue. If the Cubs should go all the way, I’ll be cheering on the team and not Chapman.
Yesterday’s monstrous win over the Seattle Mariners 12-1 saw the Cubs now legendary bats swing again after a dormant month. Jon Lester is beginning to resemble the player the Cubs signed those many moons ago. Right now he’s 11-4. That equals his total from last year. He pitched shutout baseball in 6 innings. That’s what the Cubs need from him going forward.
Then there’s David Ross, the “Old Man” of the team on his farewell tour, went 2 for 4 and took the cover off the ball for his seventh home run of the season.
What about Jason Heyward? His struggles this season have been well documented so it was a welcome relief that he cracked his first home run since June 11.
“This year has been tough, I’m sure, for him,” Lester said. “I’m sure people check the boxscore and they don’t watch the game. He’s squared a lot of balls up for us this year and hasn’t had much to show for it. That’s hard, because this game is built around results. He’s been grinding, and that [homer] was big for him to have that big swing for us and kind of get us going a little bit. Everybody’s in there rooting for each other and especially for him. That ball he ran down in the gap by [Robinson] Cano was a big turning point not only for me, but for us as a team. He brings so much other than what he does at the plate to this team. I think it gets overlooked at times. I’m sure it’s huge for him. He probably won’t admit it, but it’s big for him.”
When people talk about the controversy surrounding Chapman, they’re talking about the character of the team. Guys like Ross and Lester who show up everyday and push the team with no baggage and then there’s Heyward who’s been struggling all season and there were no complaints. Just support.
In a statement by Tom Ricketts, he addresses the situation with Chapman:
“Obviously, we are aware of the circumstances surrounding Aroldis Chapman’s suspension earlier this season. We are also aware that he cooperated fully with the league investigation and takes responsibility for his actions.
“Today, prior to completing the trade, Theo, Jed and I spoke with Aroldis. I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.
“Finally, my family, this team and Major League Baseball take the issue of domestic violence very seriously and support efforts to reduce domestic violence through education, awareness and intervention.”
Domestic Violence does not wear a World Series ring, sign high priced contracts or has an option for extension.