Anarchists' Brunch: It Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

Back in town today, brunchers, after a fun and wrestling-filled jaunt around the East Coast. But as is the way, I came back to find some turbulence in greater Cubdom.

I have to say, as the news spread on Tuesday and I was in New York, I tried to just ignore it and told myself I would just worry about it when I got home late that night. But I couldn't help but be deflated when seeing the Cubs had acquired Daniel Murphy. Not just in the acquisition of that person, and the cold calculation behind it, but because I knew what the cycle would be, both internally for myself and the coverage and reaction around it.

Here's the thing: For all the good that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have done for the Cubs, and there's a lot clearly, we know they're just overgrown bros. Previous instances have told us that, like their relationship with BarfStool. And though they are not dumb or even uncaring, the calculation has always been that wins on the field will wash away, or cancel out any concern we might have about players off it. Though you and I may have those concerns at all times, most fans don't. It's cold, but it's generally correct. Which hurts. Theo and Jed knew exactly what they were doing with Murphy, and though there would be a rocky few days, maybe even weeks, banners in October will become the story. Just as they did two years ago with Aroldis Chapman, whom they clearly didn't prep for questions about or even really bother asking about his domestic abuse. We know that now.

Also, Theo and Jed know that part of that calculation is that the media isn't going to ask questions very hard or for very long. There was one question from Paul Sullivan at Murphy's introductory press conference at Wrigley, and his surprise and lack of any real answer showed once again he wasn't prepped for it, which probably means the front office didn't give it much mind. And Theo and Jed aren't stupid, so if they decided it wasn't worth the time, they did so not out of ignorance but out of judgement.

Their "defense," such as it's been, is that they talked to MLB Ambassador of Inclusion Billy Bean about Murphy, and that cleared the air for them. But at no point have they been forced to tell us what Bean said about him, or what they asked, because really all that's going to come out of it is a glorified, "I have a gay friend," excuse for Murphy. He's never apologized, or corrected, or really done anything about his quite simply abhorrent views. Bean basically would have told them that Murphy has been nice to him, and the Cubs FO thought that was enough. If they even did that much.

We were also told that the Ricketts Family signed off on this. Ok? What were they told? What did Laura specifically say? What does "sign off" entail? Did they know about Murphy's past comments? Not everyone did. To simply take that at its word is either fearful or lazy. And if Laura did object, and said she didn't want this on her baseball team, does she have the pull to stop a deal that Tom would? I really wonder.

These are non-answers, and the Cubs media was basically ready to sop them up and much like the Cubs themselves, hope it all blows over.

I write about this today specifically because it is Out At Wrigley Day today. It's supposed to be a celebration, or welcoming, or simply an acknowledgment of the LGBTQ section of Cubs fans, and that they can be who they are at the ballpark. That it is a welcoming place for them. That their concerns will not be ignored, and they will not be made to feel like an outsider because of what baseball and its fans have been and honestly, still quite frequently are.

So how do you square that with the acquisition of Murphy? And it's not just the acquisition, but it's what is stirred up with it. The reaction to the reaction, where those who align with Murphy's hateful thoughts are spurred to speak up and divide the fanbase and make being a fan for those that Murphy quite simply attacks nearly or fully impossible. Or the largest component, my guess, of fans who just want everyone to shut up, watch baseball, so they don't have to think about any perspective that isn't their own. That people can feel inspired to tell other fan their concerns don't matter and if they don't agree they don't belong. Because you've already seen it happen. And if you haven't, I encourage you to read this by Parker Molloy to understand.

The Cubs and Epstein could have said, "We feel that Murphy is a player we need on the field, but his views don't align with how we see Wrigley and Cubs fans and we want to make that clear that it is against who we are as a baseball team. We will continue to work with Daniel on this," or something to that effect, instead of the, "Well this one dude says he's all right" that we got.

But sadly, we're not there yet. I know we're moving toward that, but it may be farther than feels encouraging. The calculation is still that these things don't matter enough to enough people, and that wins are all that matters to more than enough fans that no one really has to look quizzically.. Don't compare this to Josh Hader or Sean Newcombe, who were spewing hateful things as children. Murphy was a grown man. WhatAboutism? gets us nowhere.

I've been asked repeatedly, both about the Cubs and Hawks, why I still would be a fan if things like this bother me. You know this is just the way things are, right? I've always thought loving something meant partly to help make it better and improve it together. I see where the Cubs can be better, and I want them to get there because I've loved them all my life.

Looks like there's still a lot of work to do.


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    Wow. I am kinda surprised Daniel Murphy is playing today. I think today would have been a perfect day for a "scheduled rest day"

    Great article. Really made me think

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I’m not at all. There’s a RH pitcher opposing them & he’s LH batter.

    Nobody & I mean nobody in this world is perfect. Welcome to the Cubs, Murphy! Glad he’s here.

  • Sorry, I just don’t think this warrants an article. All this does is inject politics or religious beliefs into sports and I like my sports without that. What Murphy said are his own personal beliefs and were not outrageous or over the top and continuing on and on all the time doesn’t fix an issue all it does is enflame it and keeps the pot stirred.
    Just ignore it Fels.....stick to sports....I already know what time Maddow and Hannity come on at night.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    ....and to add to this further.....

    The flag is flying today at half staff at Wrigley Field. No announcement, no fan fare, no articles. Everyone knows why, leave it at that.
    Go Cubs.

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    Although I agree w you 100%, Until I read this article I didn't know today was a special day at all.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    True enough......nothing wrong with promoting a group with a special day at Wrigley, or bowing one’s head to acknowledge a 5 year POW.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I assumed that the flag was flying at half mast because John McCain died. What am I missing?

  • Once again, Sam can't bring himself to write about the team without bringing his personal social agenda into the equation.

  • I actually had forgotten that this was another reason to dislike Murphy besides the 2015 NLDS... However, I will say it's his prerogative to feel the way he does concerning the matter. But he is also a product of how he was raised, I believe with strong Christian background, so what does this say about religious beliefs? I'm not intending to go there, but all we can do is welcome him and show him what we believe is a better way.

    Perhaps the Chicago Cubs organization is a healthy organization for him to be a part of and he can realize that his strongly misguided beliefs maybe are not aligned properly with those who believe in 100% inclusion. Further, maybe being around better examples of human beings, and maybe even meeting and befriending Laura Ricketts will help him have a better view on the LGBTQ+ community and help him embrace in the understanding that every single human being deserves to live their life the way they so choose, and there shouldn't be "hate" involved just because someone's lifestyle is different.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    No one should be required to change their religious beliefs to accommodate a social agenda. It's more than Murphy's "prerogative" to hold his beliefs, it's his right.

    The bigger issue is that this topic has no place at Cubs Den.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Nobody’s asking him to change his religious beliefs. But perhaps being more accepting of others is a happier way to live in society. Do we need more hate or less in our lives?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Again, the topic doesn't belong here at Cubs Den. Take the BS elsewhere.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cliff, I disagree with Sam's take on this, but I wouldn't say this topic does not belong here. Sam's article isn't the only media commentary on this subject. It is something that is being discussed widely and it does involve the Cubs, one of their players and their fans. Indeed, Laura Ricketts has now commented on it. So I'm certainly OK with the discussion here.

    The Golden Rule as expressed most clearly by the Greatful Dead is simply to BE KIND. I'm not aware of Murphy ever being unkind to others, regardless of his personal religious beliefs. I am certainly OK with Murphy being on this, or any, team.

    Let's Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Was there anything about hate? or did he say he didn't agree with the life style? A Cubs fan can disagree with a White Sox fan as to who is the proper team in Chicago to root for but it doesn't mean they hate each other.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    My understanding is that he mentioned that he didn't agree with the gay lifestyle. If that is your idea of hate, what word do we use to describe our view of the Cardinals. Or, God Help us, the Mets?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yup. Which is exactly why I stopped reading Committed Indian/Faxes From Uncle Dale. From what I’ve read, Murphy didn’t use any slurs or state it in a hateful way, just stated his religious beliefs. Might not like it, might not agree with it, but he’s entitled to his own opinion.

    Ironic that this article comes from someone who called (and probably still calls) Kane “Garbage D**k” after he immediately proclaimed him guilty of sexual assault a few years ago when the story first broke, and uses multiple overweight related insults when referring to Seabrook.

  • In reply to domoto:

    Yup. I was pretty outraged with Sam's uninformed immediate verdict on the Kane matter. In fact, he stopped allowing comments because of the outrage he caused. He often is "holier then thou." So hard to take sometimes. Nonetheless, . . .

    I often agree with Fels' assessment on the games and players. And he is not without wit. So even though he angers me at times, I am a loyal reader of his stuff.

  • Another Sunday another wasted blog post. I think we are here to try and win a world series not to have a team of Fel's most moral men whose actions and beliefs align how Fel believes they should..

    As others have already said... this doesn't belong on the Cubs Den. People have a right to their religious and political beliefs.

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