OK, I have something I have to get off my chest now that Spring Training is upon us, and Opening Day will be here before we know it. This is important, because it concerns all of us as members of Cubs Nation, the greatest and most loyal fans in sports history. And it concerns our right fielder, assuming he breaks camp with the Cubs in 2007. I don't know how you all feel about this, but I feel very bad about the way Jacque Jones was treated in Chicago last year. We treated him like garbage, there is simply no other way to describe it. And when you hear him talk (you don't even have to HEAR him, you can't miss his tone even if you're reading a quote from him), he does not like us. He does not consider us to be good fans. And how can you blame him? We did nothing to earn his respect or admiration. And that bothers me.
It bothers me because we, as Cubs fans, are better than that. We're not Philadelphia fans. All I know is, last year, in spite of all he endured, Jacque hit .285 with 27 HR, 81 RBI, and was one base hit away from a Slugging Pct. of .500. In short, he did exactly what he was brought here to do, at least offensively. I know his defense was not good. His baserunning was horrendous. And you know what? He knows that too. The guy is a pro. Booing a guy is one thing. But racial slurs, throwing a ball out of the bleachers and almost hitting the guy, there is no excuse for this kind of stuff. They may act like that other places, but we don't act like that in Chicago, at least on the North Side. I might be preaching to the choir here, and I hope I am, but this stuff has to stop this year. Let's give this guy a break, and accept him as one of our guys, which we should have done from the start.
I truly hope that Jacque Jones is in the Cubs' Opening Day lineup. When he trots out to right field for the first time, and when he comes to the plate for his first at-bat, we owe him a standing ovation, if for no other reason than as an apology for last year. Sometimes it sucks to look yourself in the mirror and admit that you screwed up. Last year, we screwed up, and we need to make it right this year.