I'm not a guy to bash baseball players but The Ian Stewart Show just never seems to end. It only goes underground for a bit and then bubbles back up to the surface.
Let me preface by saying that I really, really wanted to like Ian Stewart. I thought the Cubs had found a possible long term solution to their 3B vacancy. I hoped they had captured lightning in a bottle with a talented, but unlucky ballplayer.
They got lightning all right -- but not the kind they were hoping for and, in retrospect, it now seems likely that the once highly-touted prospect has created some of his own bad luck over the years.
The latest from Stewart involves a string of tweets that appears to once again put the blame outside himself and shift it to those around him.
Here are some of his tweets...
“I said that (he would never return to the Cubs) because the Cubs are done with me. There (sic) going to let me ROTT (sic) in AAA all season and then non tender me after.”
Well, Ian you had your chance to refuse an assignment to Iowa when the Cubs designated you for assignment. But you didn't want that. You passed through waivers because no team wanted to pick up even a pro-rated portion of your salary.
"why would I quit. I’m making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting.”
The short term money obviously meant more to you than an opportunity to re-establish yourself and put yourself in a position to make more money later. The Cubs were honest with you from the beginning, saying they would give younger players such as Josh Vitters and Junior Lake more opportunities to play because they are the future. You knew what you were getting in to. You chose the immediate gratification of your remaining salary over an opportunity to get a fresh start to your career. You made that choice. .
“I meant they might as well release me since I have no shot at a call-up. Let me sign elsewhere”
Again. You had your opportunity to sign elsewhere. You chose to stay and you were told beforehand of the ramifications that choice would bring in terms of your playing time.
"I think Dale Sveum doesn't like me and he's running the show."
We really have no way of knowing if that's really true, but gee, I wonder why he wouldn't like a player that is not loyal and dedicated to his team. Listen, I understand family needs and all, but every job requires you to make that sacrifice from time to time -- especially baseball which requires you to be away from home half the time. We've seen players like Matt Garza make that sacrifice. We've seen Jorge Soler leave family and the only culture he has ever'/ known behind in order to try and build a career for himself. Those players are very strong family men too. Many players in the game have made that sacrifice. If your family depends so much on baseball and the salary it brings, then you owe it to your family to put everything you can into the game that is essentially your livelihood.
And Dale doesn't run the show. The front office does. If you were playing good baseball then it wouldn't even matter what Sveum thought of you personally. Job one for Sveum is to put the best team he can on the field by using the best players that are available to him. Take care of the things you can control -- which is to play good baseball and be a team player even when you are not on the field. If you would have taken care of that, then you would be in the major leagues. Period.
The fact of the matter is that no team wants you on it's team if it means picking up your $2M tab. It isn't just the Cubs. Believe me, if they could have found a team that thought you were worth even that minimal financial risk -- the Cubs would have shipped you off for a few packages of Big League Chew.
“I honestly believe if Valbuena were to get hurt they wouldn’t call me up. Back up. Just MHO.”
I hope this doesn't mean you are throwing your teammate under the bus by calling him a backup -- especially when he has outperformed you not only as a good teammate but on the field as well. If Luis Valbuena is a major league backup, then what does that make Ian Stewart? A triple-A backup? I guess so.
And lastly, from Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune,
As the night wore on Stewart re-tweeted someone who took an apparent shot at the Cubs’ front office:
“sad part is Stew isn't an AAA baller. He is a big show baller in an org. With terrible leadership.”
This is the coup-de-grace. Teams are already unwilling to pick you up for $2M because you haven't played good baseball. How are they supposed to feel when they see a ballplayer who doesn't just blame management for his troubles, but implicitly questions their leadership ability. I'm sure all the other teams are really eager to take you on now. I'm not sure there will be that much interest even at the minimum salary.
I have defended the Ian Stewart trade largely because it was a low risk gamble for a player who was gifted in terms of physical ability, but instead it has become a testament to the importance of mental makeup when it comes to being able to fully utilize one's talent.
In retrospect, it seems the Cubs misjudged Ian Stewart, not once, but twice. They had a chance to cancel the Ian Stewart Show this spring -- but I can't say that was a terrible decision that they didn't. I give them credit for not being quick to judge and giving Stewart a second chance.
It's too bad he's thrown that away too.