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Readers of this column may remember during last years baseball season, I relinquished my rights as a Cubs fan. The decision came following what I considered to be a sucker punch delivered by Cubs catcher Michael Barrett to his counterpart from the south side, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Up until that moment, I had been a lifelong Cubs fan. I was embarrassed for the organization following that incident. It may have been one of the most cowardly moments I have ever witnessed in a baseball game. I avowed that I would never be a Cubs fan again until the team got rid of Barrett.
Last week, my wish was finally granted. Barrett was traded to the San Diego Padres. He has had more than his share of problems on and off the field in Chicago. The most recent headline-grabber was a dugout fight that carried over and into the clubhouse between him and fellow teammate Carlos Zambrano. Apparently, the two battery mates had patched things up, but something else must have forced the Cubs to make the trade. Maybe it was Barretts lack of defense, or possibly his overall slimy character. Either way, as a born-again fan, Im glad this loser is finally out of town.
Now, its time for me to get my membership card in the Cubs fan club renewed. I need to dust off the wrinkled jersey, and Im ready to root, root, root for the Cubbies again.
It really couldnt have come at a better time. I realize the team is still a sub-.500 club, but they have won six of their last 10. They are fresh off a three-game sweep against their cross-town rivals. Their starting pitching is improving. Alfanso Soriano is red hot, and starting to pay some dividends. Aramis Ramirez is off the disabled list and looked good in the series against the White Sox. Manager Lou Piniella is a proven winner. I think things may finally be going in the right direction for the boys in blue.
Granted, the Cubs are still a few games behind division leader Milwaukee, but Im starting to get my hopes up. And besides, isnt that what being a true Cubs fan is all about?
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
from the June 27-July 4, issue