This weekend marked the first time that Chicago Cubs infielder Daniel Murphy played against his former team, the Washington Nationals, since he was traded on August 21st. Having the spotlight back on Murphy means once again revisiting who he is as a person, and thus how much the Cubs don't actually care what their players are like as people off the field.
The Nats have taken two of three from the Cubs this weekend, with Sunday's game, scheduled to start later today, potentially rained out. Murphy has been a big boost to the Cubs lineup. He's helped improved the team's ailing since the All-Star break offense, hitting .303 with an OPS of .854 with 4 HRs and 7 RBIs in 16 games.
However, he is one of the most polarizing additions that the Cubs have made in recent years.
The Theo Epstein era has brought results, most notably of course an end to the World Series drought (you might have heard a little but about that, it made all the home pages) but it has also meant dwelling within the moral gray areas of the game. This current regime has made it absolutely clear to you the fan, time and time again- they do not care one iota what you think or want in terms of actual individuals to root for.
When manager Joe Maddon was first acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays, the move was denounced as "tampering" by some, but that transaction was downright cute, sweet and wholesome compared to what was followed since.
On July 25, 2016, the Chicago Cubs traded Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and Rashad Crawford to the New York Yankees for Aroldis Chapman.
On December 7, 2015, news broke that Chapman was involved in an alleged domestic violence incident with his girlfriend on October 30th of that year. He was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots.
No charges were filed by the police due to inconsistency in his girlfriend's re-telling and a lack of physical evidence, but Major League Baseball banned him for 30 games as a result of "Chapman's use of the firearm and its effect on his partner," ending May 9, 2016.
Chapman was the winning pitcher for the Cubs in game 7 of the 2016 World Series (although he did blow a save opportunity in that contest). Acquiring Chapman, and then winning a World championship with him is emblematic of the old "you don't want to learn how the sausage gets made" saying.
Signing somebody like Chapman, and then two years later, Murphy takes that up (actually down) another notch. It's basically having video of the pig slaughterhouse texted to you over and over again.
On March 3, 2015 Billy Bean, the first major league player to come out as gay, spent a day in uniform with the New York Mets, Murphy's team at the time.
“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Murphy said of Bean.
“I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”
When the Cubs acquired him last month, they effectively made their annual Pride Night meaningless. In acquiring him, it truly felt like the team had scouts on Chicago Cubs Twitter and they were looking for the one individual player that could anger the fan base the most (to be fair, a lot of that is due to how much he has hurt the Cubs when competing against them, especially so in the 2015 NLCS).
It's worth noting also that deploring the addition of Murphy was maybe the only thing Chicago Cubs Twitter has mostly agreed on all season long.
Of course, there really isn't much you can do in terms of expressing your disagreement with the front office's lifestyle choice of signing players who are not good human beings.
If you don't buy Chicago Cubs tickets or Chicago Cubs merchandise, there are plenty of other consumers who will. All you can really do is try to manage your cognitive dissonance; like you did when rooting for Jake Arrieta, who expressed sociopolitical views that are far from enlightened, and when trying to explain them sounded even worse.
To be honest, there are a lot of other players on this team who likely have world views you strongly oppose, it's just that they keep them private. Ignorance is truly bliss in this regard.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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