|It takes one to know one, apparently. photo adapted from colour-fool|
All of this is decidedly beside the point, because the jeers I heard yesterday were so hilarious. I watched and listened as a grizzled, disheveled man with trademark Kelly Leak sunglasses, a scraggly neck beard, and his own personal atmospheric system (consisting of nothing but alcohol fumes, body odor, and what I can only assume was the aroma of madly cavorting head lice) made his opinions of each and every Cubs player known to the world. He was a bit louder than most, but he obviously wasn't alone; this is standard player introduction protocol. Ted Lilly and his non-setback back probably received the loudest ovation. Big Z wins the award for mixed receptions. But when Soriano's name was announced, Shower McStinky had the quote of the day:
"Soriano is a BUM!!!!"
Peals. Of. Laughter. I mean, the guy was dead serious, but I couldn't stop giggling. This man, who looked as though he were dressing up as Homelessness Incarnate for Halloween, was calling Alfonso Soriano, who will make $18 million a year through the 2014 season, a bum. It was kind of like when that grimy old lady called Buttercup the Queen of Putrescence.
But I understood the general sentiment, all comedy aside. Soriano had pretty much given the previous game away by failing to catch a fly ball that hit him in the glove. It may have been poor word choice, but I don't begrudge the angst of the vagrant in training. But that was before the game.
I fail to understand, however, the complaints about Soriano after he went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a scorching line drive that almost put a baseball-shaped hole in Casey McGehee. It was right at the guy and absolutely uncatchable. But of course he struck out and didn't run to first after the ball hit the dirt (maybe because he didn't actually swing). So boooooo.
The fans weren't alone in their inexplicable overreactions, however. Barry Rozner laments Soriano's dreadful 2-for-4 performance with disgust intermingled with relief that a Cubs source said Fonzy has to bring something to the table or else. In a scathing chastisement of Soriano's how-dare-he media evasion, Gordon Wittenmyer finds it titillating and scandalous that Soriano was removed from the game with the Cubs protecting a 9-4 lead heading into the 7th. ZOMDR!
Is this what it's come to, people? A guy has a good game, and he gets skewered? Just because an outfielder doesn't want to talk to a horde of petulant, seething junior-high media members you feel the need to change the facts on his performance? Rozner called Soriano's I'm-gonna-get-you-sucka line smash a soft infield single. Wittenmyer pretended to know why Soriano didn't talk to the media (because he was mad about being removed for defensive purposes . . . I think it's because he's dating Elin Woods, did you hear?).
It might be a bit too early to judge the Cubs or any one player this season, but I'm not holding out hope that the media learns how to behave like real journalists, let alone adults. Maybe the fans can make better progress and actually judge things according to reality and not what they hear