Brett Jackson's catch yesterday has everyone still buzzing. Tom and I have both written about Brett Jackson inspired by that catch. It brought on thoughts on Jackson's potential leadership ability, media expectations, and whether or not Jackson can hit enough to make any of it matter. We decided to break it up into three different pieces and the first is on Jackson and his potential to be the kind of leader the Cubs have lacked for years...
If there is anyone who puts his money where his mouth is, it's Brett Jackson. He said the following regarding his catch yesterday,
“That’s the type of player I am,” Jackson said. “I’ve always been that way. I’ll go through a wall for the team and that was a big moment for Travis (Wood) and for us. We’d lost six in a row, and seven runs didn’t seem like it was enough at the time. I don’t really have a second gear. I’m going to go for those balls. I’m sure people will tell me to take care of my body, but making that play was a little more important at the time.”
In case you missed it, here's a look at that play again,
Jackson hit his head on the fence and his knee hit some sort of "padding". In an epic collision, neither Jackson or the wall seemed willing to give.
Thankfully, Jackson is okay.
“Did a little inventory check while I was down, but got my knee pretty good,” Jackson said. “It’s good though. Looks like it’s just going to be a pretty bad bruise. The X-rays were negative. Just got it right on my kneecap. I guess I was pretty lucky. The doctor was saying if my foot was down when I hit (the wall) it would be a (posterior cruciate ligament). But because my foot was in the air, it was able to bend.”
Getting back to Jackson and the fact that he'll literally go through a wall (or at least try) for the team, I have to admit it has probably made him one of my favorite players. It reminded me of one of my first favorite players as a kid: Fred Lynn. He was from Chicago. He was the MVP, All-Star, Rookie of the Year, and won a Gold Glove in the first year I truly started to watch baseball everyday.
The reason I bring up Lynn is because of the beating he took for his team, sometimes at the detriment of his own health and career. Like Jackson, he only had one gear. But Lynn also inspired his team and led the Red Sox to the World Series in 1975, a team that gave the vaunted Big Red Machine all they could handle in the World Series. How could you not play hard everyday when you had someone literally willing to go through a wall in your everyday lineup?
Jackson has a long way to go before he's the kind of ballplayer Fred Lynn was. The strikeouts have been talked about ad nauseum, and we'll address that in a separate article, but if he gets them under control, Jackson has the potential to be one of the potential leaders of this team. Anthony Rizzo is looked on as a future leader as well, but he is more of the Andre Dawson/Derrek Lee type leader, the kind of guy who remains cool and stabilizes the team even in the face of adversity.
Jackson, on the other hand, is the Yang to Rizzo's Yin. He's intense. You can see it in every AB and in the way he chases down flyballs as if he is tracking down scud missiles. He's the kind of guy who is going to ignite the team with a big play.
The kind of guy who will go through a wall for you.
The kind of guy every good team needs to have.
The kind of guy the Cubs have lacked for years.
In an era where we've seen too many Cubs players choose comfort over winning, Jackson is exactly the opposite. He wants what's best for his team over what ultimately might be best for himself. Players say they want to win, but how many are willing to lay it all out on the field the way Jackson did last night? How do you think teammates feel when they have a player behind them who will do whatever is necessary to help the club?
There isn't one single event that will mark the Cubs eventual turnaround. There was the acquisition and call-up of Anthony Rizzo, the commitment to Starlin Castro...and of course, it all started with the hiring of Theo and his crack staff in the first place.
But I think when we look back, one of the things we can add to the list will be "The Catch".
Later today, Tom will delve into a twitter discussion inspired by Jackson's play with some thoughts on media expectations and Cubs prospects.