The Rundown: Fowler’s Comments Draw BFIB’s Ire, Maddon’s Stunt Postponed, Fundraiser Thoughts, Hosmer Wants What?
It was a soggy day in Mesa, which means a dearth of live action from Sloan Park. But not everything was quiet, as you may have learned if you spent some time on social media.
Dexter Fowler certainly had his fair share of howlers Sunday after making what seemed like a fairly innocuous statement about the international travel ban. Fowler told ESPN that he and his wife, who was born in Iran, had talked about traveling to the Middle East with their daughter to meet his wife’s relatives. He also mentioned that his sister-in-law had chosen to stay longer on a business trip to Qatar for fear of being detained upon re-entry to the US.
“It’s huge,” Fowler said of the ban. “Especially any time you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”
I read that and I see a guy who’s answering a question about something that is directly impacting his family. Nothing more, nothing less. This wasn’t a political statement or some attempt to emulate Tommie Smith and John Carlos. At least in the context I saw it, this is like complaining about the price of gas.
Not everyone felt that way, though, namely some of the supporters of Fowler’s new team.
— Baseball's Best Fans (@BestFansStLouis) February 19, 2017
Before I go any further, let’s make something perfectly clear: every team has its share of mouth-breathers who feel compelled to spew ignorant and/or racist vitriol at the athletes they objectify. But when it comes to establishing an identity for such behavior, at least in terms of notoriety, Cardinals fans seem to have cornered the market. It’s not a majority of their following, mind you, but the whole Best Fans in Baseball thing is like a poorly drawn cartoon snake eating its tale.
This isn’t meant to be a hit piece or anything, I just can’t bear to see people actually expressing views that players are property of the teams employing them. Again, I realize the myriad moronic responses chronicled in several different posts like the one you see above (at the risk of actually spurring you to do so, I urge you not to pull the loose thread dangling there) represent only a small sliver of Cardinals Nation. It’s just that, I don’t know, people aren’t really surprised by the reaction.
We could look back at the reported treatment of Jacques Jones and other former Cubs and say that maybe these same kind of idiots in the Cubs’ fanbase were part of what spurred Fowler’s departure. You know, sort of the opposite of what happened with Jason Heyward. Except, like, the Cardinals offered J-Hey $200 million and the Cubs really didn’t pursue Fowler. Not lustily, anyway.
Besides, cries of “Trader!” are usually reserved for those players who leave a team, not the ones who just signed with one. Not even Milton Bradley saw shoulders turn this cold this quickly, and he was a bona fine a-hole who abused his wife. All Fowler did lament the inability to see family.
Try as I might, there’s no way to shine a light into the darkest reaches of nescience (perhaps you prefer feeblemindedness) far too many people inhabit. But maybe, just maybe, I can hold this candle high enough to let them see another step or two ahead. My arm’s kinda weak, though, so I’m going to enlist the help of my friend Mike, whose wise words will be revealed in more detail when we publish the remainder of his interview.
“You’ve got to make the story really human and not put the guy up on a pedestal because he’s just like you. He’s just anybody else, no matter who it is. Just because he’s good at baseball doesn’t mean he’s this…he’s just popular, that’s all.”
And while I’m at it, let’s hear from the man himself:
For the record. I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy, but athletes are humans, and not properties of the team they work for.
— Dexter Fowler (@DexterFowler) February 19, 2017
Maddon’s surprise postponed
You know how Joe Maddon always has a gimmick or three up his sleeve for Spring Training, like a mime or a hippie van or bear cubs or whatever? Well, the rain meant changing Sunday Funday to Manic Monday. Ooooh, does that mean Susanna Hoffs will be there? I have no idea what’s going to happen, only that Cubs Insider should be on the scene to broadcast it semi-live.
Hey, maybe Fowler can come back again.
CI needs your help to raise a little money for charity
In addition to our goal of bringing you the best, most varied content we can, one of our goals at Cubs Insider is to be actively involved in charitable giving. After all, what good is a growing footprint of readers and followers if you can’t use it as a force for good? That’s worked pretty well for us in the past, anyway.
Our thought on this next fundraiser was to offer up a few prizes — maybe, say, an Andre Dawson autographed photo, a Joe Maddon autographed hat, and some Cubs Spring Training tickets to a game of your choice — in exchange for donations to a particular charity. However, the organization in question is still resolving some issues with their online giving and setups like GoFundMe can take a big, wet bite out of the total pool.
Another issue is how to accurately track the entries and, ideally, encourage those who donated to spread the word. Our initial thought is to have people donate via our PayPal account, with each $5 increment serving as an entry (with an escalator that gives you 5 entries for every $20; e.g.: $100 = 25 entries). We can then donate the entire total, plus a little extra of our own, with limited/no fees taken out. And maybe we’d ask that you tweet and/or share the raffle and your entry via social media.
If we’re able to make this work, there’s potential for a follow-up with another one that has an even bigger prize, one that would necessitate higher donation increments. Oh, there I go putting the cart out in front of the horses again. Anyway, let us know what you think in the polls below.[poll id=”20″] [poll id=”21″]
Hosmer could ask for what?
Looks like Jake Arrieta isn’t the only player aiming for a massive deal in free agency. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Royals expect first baseman Eric Hosmer to seek a 10-year contract (!) after the 2017 season. Hosmer will be 28 when he hits free agency and dude’s good, but Joey Votto he is not. Then again, several big-market clubs in need of a first baseman could be sitting on a couple hundred million they can’t find a better use for.
Other news and notes
- Yankees to sign Jon Niese
- Eric Gagne is considering a comback
- Check our “Cubs Related Videos” bar for cool moving pictures
- Part 3 of our Mike Bryant interview will run later today, catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before it does