To boo or not to boo. That is the eternal question in sports.
Cubs manager Mike Quade said he never booed anybody as a fan growing up. Left fielder Alfonso Soriano said he understands it when fans boo under-performing players, but he also said he does not believe Chicago sports fans are the "worst."
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The tempest was created by Chicago Sun-Times story in which Soriano empathized with the White Sox' Adam Dunn, who is being booed by the home crowds at U.S. Cellular Field. In the story, Soriano was quoted as saying Chicago is "the worst" when it comes to fans booing their own players.
Before Wednesday's game against the White Sox, Soriano said he was misunderstood, and he tried to put his feelings in context.
"The fans here are good, but at the same time, when you're doing bad, they boo," Soriano said. "If you're doing good, they clap for you. But it's nothing like I said they are bad fans. Here, everywhere, Cincinnati, St. Louis, any ballpark you go, if you're not doing good, what do they want to do? They want to boo you. If you're doing good, they're happy. It's not like they're the worst fans in the world. I feel sorry for Adam Dunn because he's a great player. I think he understands, I understand and every player understands because he's not doing good."
Soriano is in the fifth season of an eight-year, $136 million contract. He has been alternately booed and cheered at Wrigley Field, depending on whether he's hitting home runs or striking out. In general, Soriano maintains a good relationship with the fans in left field, smiling and tossing baseballs into the crowd.
He also lets the criticism roll off his back.
"I enjoy my time, and I enjoy playing for the fans," he said. "I don't know what (the Sun-Times reporter) is trying to mean, that I don't like the fans in Chicago, because I enjoy playing in Chicago, and I enjoy playing for the fans in Chicago."
Quade said booing is "part of the deal."
"I was laughing because I think Sori's got a pretty (darn) good relationship with the fans," Quade said. "It's just part of what happens at this level. You deal with it, and you find a way to compete ... I never booed anybody in my life."
The Daily Herald's Barry Rozner first reported Wednesday that Cubs TV voice Len Kasper had agreed to a five-year contract extension.
"It feels great," Kasper said. "My goal from Day 1 of getting this job was to spend my whole career here. But there's only so much in my control. The security is wonderful. I can't thank the Cubs enough and the two stations, WGN and Comcast SportsNet, and particularly the Ricketts family (owners of the Cubs). I've gotten to know them very well over the last couple of years, and I think the franchise is in great hands."
Kasper and color analyst Bob Brenly came to town in 2005 and have won rave critical reviews for their work.
Mike Quade will make a slight adjustment to his pitching rotation for the weekend series at Kansas City. After an off-day Thursday, the Cubs will send Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Randy Wells at the Royals, Friday-Sunday respectively.
Quade is flip-flopping Zambrano and Wells, giving Wells an additional day of rest.
"If somebody's going to benefit from the extra day, it would be Wellsie," Quade said.