Thursday night. Wrigley Field. Cubs vs Pirates. Cubs have a 1/2 game lead over Milwaukee with four games to go. It's the biggest game of a long season.
I'm heading to the park, waiting for the bus. I see a man walking across the street wearing a Cubs jersey...nothing unusual about that. I notice the back of the jersey says 27 with name Russell above the number. I thought I was seeing things so I followed him down the street to make sure. Yep, he was wearing an Addison Russell jersey.
If you aren't familiar with him, let me give you a quick course in Russell 101.
Addison Russell had a great high school career in Florida. In 2012, he was the overall number 11 pick, in the first round, of the MLB draft, by the Oakland A's. Two years later, he was traded to Cubs. A year later, in 2015, he made his major league debut at age twenty-one. In 2016, he played a major role in the Cubs winning the World Series. His home runs against both the Dodgers and the Indians will forever be a part of Cubs history.
Since then, his baseball career has not progressed like everyone expected. He's regressed as a hitter and has had some injury issues, but Russell is still only twenty-four years old so no one is giving up on someone with his potential.
That's Addison Russell, the baseball player.
The problem is Addison Russell, the human being.
Russell and his wife Melisa were married in 2016. They have a two year old son. In 2017, she filed for divorce. A third party, one of Melisa's friends accused Russell of domestic violence. Major League Baseball investigated the accusation but Melisa decided not to cooperate with them so nothing was done. However, the investigation remained open.
A couple of weeks ago, Melisa wrote a blog on her Instagram site which talked about years of physical and mental abuse from Russell...much of it done in front their son. MLB took the accusations seriously enough that Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave while they investigate the charges. Melisa is now cooperating with the investigation.
That's the short version and that's where the case stands today.
My question is this....if you know all of this, why would you choose to wear an Addison Russell jersey in public? Why would you do that in a place where forty thousand people would see you?
I'm always interested in people's thought process. I like to know why they do the things they do. I'd love to know how the decision was made to put on this jersey.
I'm going to assume that this dude was a fan of Addison. Cubs jerseys are pretty pricey. If you're getting one with a particular player's name on it, chances are he really likes this player. If that's the case, unless his head is in the sand 24/7, he knows the story of Russell and his wife. Yet, he still decided wearing the jersey was the way to go. And on a day where the entire country was watching a hearing dealing with an alleged attempted rape, the timing of his clothing choice was bad....very, very bad.
I don't know, maybe he feels this was the best way he could show his support for Russell. Solidarity for a fellow bro. I don't get it but I admit there's a lot of things going on in 2018 that I don't get. Yep, welcome to 20FUCKING18.
I'm heading to Wrigley again today. The Cardinals are in town. After last nights 3-0 win, the Cubs have a one game lead in the division with three games to go. It's another biggest game of the season. I wish I had a Melisa jersey to show her support.