We Aren’t Special

Domestic violence is deplorable regardless of who you are, I hope that we are all well aware of that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular joe, a politician, an athlete or anyone else; committing an act of domestic violence is a sickening act. Aroldis Chapman has admitted to a DV incident, which is terrible regardless of whether or not he served time or was convicted of anything. As fans of the Chicago Cubs, it makes sense for our community to feel some sort of outrage over bringing him in to our beloved organization. Here’s the thing though: the front office doesn’t care what we think.

I feel as though I should introduce my take like this: I hate Aroldis Chapman. I have hated him since he first came up with Cincinnati. I loathed him because he played for a rival, I despised him because he had beef with Anthony Rizzo and my team, then I detested him for his egregious act involving a gun, his garage and his wife. I haven’t wanted the Cubs to make a trade for him from either a baseball perspective nor a fan perspective. Now that a deal seems imminent though, it’s important to recognize that Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs don’t give a damn what I think. In fact, they don’t give a damn what any of us think.

These guys have one job, and that’s not to make sure they only sign guys with squeaky-clean images. No, their job is to end a 108-year championship drought, or at least the simultaneous 71-year National League pennant drought. Adding Aroldis Chapman to the team’s bullpen, in their minds, gets the team closer to reaching that goal and that’s why they want to make the deal. It’s as simple as that.

Fans need to stop thinking that their teams are above making a move like this. We all fall into that trap, whether we’re Cubs fans or not. We think, for some reason, that our favorite team is some bastion of perfect sportsmanship, humanity and athletic excellence, all wrapped into one package. I’m sure fans of the White Sox (or any other team in baseball at this point) would be happy to point out this doesn’t apply to the Cubs. And if you’re a Cubs fan and you think this applies to our favorite team, you’re just lying to yourself. We’re not special.

To add a little more personal experience to this point, my favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers. I love the Packers more than almost anything in life, some may even call it unhealthy (from a non-biased perspective, I probably would too). Packers fans have a penchant for acting like our team is full of wonderful people who never make mistakes, while our organization is also flawless. Spoiler alert: we’re not. I know Packers fans are not the only group that falls into that trap. I know I’m not the only individual who is susceptible to that line of thinking at times. We’re not special.

It would be fantastic if the Cubs were this idyllic organization that always took on players that the fans unanimously love. That’s not their job though, and frankly they probably couldn’t care less about what we think of Aroldis Chapman, the player nor the person. The team is not above a move like this. Again, the job of the front office is to win. In that regard, it makes sense to make the move. I could talk until I’m blue in the face (and I have) about why it doesn’t make sense, for baseball reasons, to trade for another closer. I’m also some punk kid with nothing better to do than blog about sports as if people care, not a Major League Baseball general manager. But there’s my point: when signing a player, it doesn’t matter what someone out in the fan community thinks, only the people tasked with building a winning team. We’re not special.

If you want to look at a real problem, maybe we should look at all the people who couldn’t have cared less about Aroldis Chapman until he became a potential reality for the Cubs. Out of sight, out of mind, right? No, actually, that’s a terrible way to approach it. I find it highly hypocritical to ignore and willingly forget about the guy’s off-field problems, but then when he could be traded to your glorious, impeccable team, suddenly it’s a heinous thought that he could ever be allowed on the diamond again. Give me a break. I know some people really have been disgusted with him ever since the DV news surrounding him came to light, a group I have no issue with at all. But for everyone acting like Chapman is Lucifer himself right now, where were you before the trade rumors started a few weeks ago?

Again, I’m not trying to make light of a domestic abuser, because it sickens me. I haven’t hid my thoughts about DV in the past and I won’t now. I’ve written about my detestation for abusive athletes in the past and by no means do I want Aroldis Chapman on my favorite baseball team, in large part due to his abusive history. I don’t have a choice in the matter, however, and it seems that with every passing second that the Cubs will have a new closer. I don’t have to like (or even dislike, because my feelings for this kind of person go way beyond that) the person nor will I ever, but I’m not going to stop cheering for the Cubs.

You’re not a bad person for still cheering for the team you love just because they now have someone you hate. By the same token, you’re not a saint for writing off a team just because you’re infuriated by adding a guy like Aroldis Chapman. We’re not special.

I’m not going to stop rooting for the Chicago Cubs just because they may end up with Aroldis Chapman, as awful as he may be. I can still want my team to do well while actively disliking him. I do not forgive him, I will not forget what he did and frankly I hope nobody does. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer certainly have not forgotten what he did. They also believe that he’s a missing piece that will propel the franchise to the World Series. That’s why we could very likely see Aroldis Chapman is Cubbie Blue soon.

It’s fantastic that we all have opinions and we have places like Twitter or a blog where we can share these opinions with the masses. I don’t fault anyone for having an opinion on this move, even if some of them disgust me. But to be blunt, I think there is a lot of hypocrisy and a lot of willing ignorance of a severe societal problem being spewed in unison surrounding this story. Things aren’t always black and white; lines get blurred and it can be hard to be a fan when your team is involved in a controversial situation or acquire a controversial player, a scenario the Cubs are currently mired in. Don’t believe me? Go ask a few Blackhawks fans about their favorite hockey team and Patrick Kane; I’m sure you’ll be hearing plenty of different answers on that topic.

I love sports. Frankly I probably care about sports too much. I’m in too deep now though and I’m not going to stop supporting my favorite teams. Just because you support a team with a bad person on it does not mean you support said person’s terrible acts. You have to assume that’s the premise the Chicago Cubs’ front office is acting under. They don’t care what the fans think about their moves because they’re just doing what think is the best move to accomplish their main goal. I want a World Series desperately, even with a dirtbag on the team. Don’t confuse that with being happy we have a dirtbag on the team, though. Maybe one day we’ll stop worshiping our favorite sports teams, understand that said teams are not above signing a bad person and realize that our opinions don’t mean a damn thing. Until then, I’ll just reiterate one thing: We aren’t special.


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