Baseball is a funny game. Watching a ball game is roughly three hours of your life, some times longer, occasionally shorter. But for those three hours a day the team that you root for becomes a part of your life. While a game should never dictate how you feel, whether they win or not does have an impact on your day and night. When that white W flag gets raised high above the scoreboard, you cannot help but smile. On the reverse side, when they raise that blue L flag, you walk away depressed.
Over the course of a six month regular season, the emotions run high, and the season can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. Over the course of a season, you tend to get attached to players, and for whatever reason certain players grow on you, or distance themselves from you. You get attached to them, and root for their success. You want them to succeed so that your attachment to them is justified.
At the same time, there are those players that always rub you the wrong way. Whether you dislike them because of the contract they received, or they never seem to come through when the team needs them. Or maybe the way they play the game upsets you. But for whatever reason, you are not a fan, and wish they were off your team.
Alfonso Soriano fit in both categories for the entire fan base. He was one of those players that you either loved or hated. There were fans that showered him with praise no matter what he did, and there were fans that never had a kind word for him and treated him as though he never did anything good.
Right or wrong, that is baseball. That is the emotion that is brought out of fans by these players we depend on to help make the summer months enjoyable. That emotion is what I feel can only truly be found in baseball. You see these guys day in and day out for six months. Every day from April to October you see these players, and hear the broadcasters, and they grow on you. You tend to depend upon them to help make your days and months enjoyable.
Now, over the years, players and broadcasters who have been around the team for several years seem to become a part of your family. To steal a line from the movie “Fever Pitch” they become your Summer Family.
Now, when someone you have been with for years leaves your life, no one would blame you if you got emotional. The same is said when ball players leave your team. Fan favorites like Kerry Wood, Ryne Sandberg, Harry Caray, Jack Brickhouse, Ron Santo and most recently Soriano.
While Soriano was not loved by every fan, you cannot deny that he has had an impact on your life over the past seven years. He has been removed from the Cubs, and he has been removed our Summer Family.
I am going to miss Soriano. He may not have been the best player in Cubs history, but he may well have been one of my favorites.
Last night he left the Cubs. While the trade has not been officially announced, he is gone. He took a RedEye to New York after the game. But not until his teammates were able to privately say goodbye. There were no dugout hugs this time. Those were reserved for the privacy of the clubhouse where the players were visibly upset about his leaving the team.
Yes, this is a game. Trades are a part of the business they signed up for. But that does not mean the players or fans have to like when someone who they all view as a great teammate, great player and a great leader is taken away from them. All they can do is accept the decision and move on.
Soriano gained the respect of that clubhouse, and the respect of many fans. I for one am glad he was a member of the Cubs. If he ever comes back to Wrigley as a member of an opposing team, I will gladly give him a standing ovation.