Constable: Politics can't make Cubs great again
We watched fireworks, cheered the flag and celebrated our country's independence on Tuesday. By Wednesday, we were back to expressing our discomfort with independent thinkers when it comes to our beloved Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs, who won the World Series when Barack Obama was president, are 3-4 since some of the coaches, executives and players visited the White House of Donald J. Trump on June 28. Acknowledging that the Cubs did have an official White House visit with Obama in January, Trump noted, "This is a great team and they were actually here, but they wanted to be here with Trump, right?" In what could be considered encouragement or a veiled threat, Trump also told the Cubs that "you're going to do great starting now, right?"
That same week, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who has been vilified by the Democrats, stirred the political pot for some Cubs fans by tweeting out a photo of himself and Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts both wearing World Series rings, attempting smiles and looking as if they could be identical twins. Fans know that the Ricketts siblings differ politically, with Laura Ricketts supporting Democrats such as Obama and Hillary Clinton, while the brothers lean the other way.
Meanwhile, Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. has 4 hits in 17 at-bats since denying allegations that he was discreetly flipping off Trump during the team's visit.
Some fans say Almora's middle finger visible outside his front pants pocket was as obvious as an eagle, while others say critics are just ruffling feathers by seeing a slight that wasn't there.
Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. told reporters he was skipping the chance to meet with Trump so he could go see some dinosaurs in a museum.
Pitcher Jon Lester, who said he missed the Obama visit because of a death in the family, met with Trump, and he since has gone 0-1 and given up 6 earned runs in just 11 innings.
Four players skipped the Obama visit, while 10 missed the audience with Trump. Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, who met with both presidents, coined the T-shirt phrase "Respect 90" as a reminder to players to run hard during the 90 feet between bases.
Maddon has no respect demands when it comes to the White House, the president or politics. Apparently, there is no politicking in baseball.
Many Cubs fans find it easier to root for Cubs players with the courage to voice political opinions -- as long as they echo the opinions held by those fans.
And many feel detached from Cubs players with the courage to voice political opinions that differ.
Last October, the Cubs had the power to bring together Republicans and Democrats and Independents, as we all united behind the team's push through the playoffs. One week in November changed everything.
"Wow! Less than a week ago, I was celebrating my Cubs as World Champions, and now Trump is going to be our next president! (Sad Face)," read many social media posts.
"Wow. Less than a week ago, I was celebrating my Cubs as World Champions, and now Trump is going to be our next president! (Happy Face)," read other social media posts.
Fans react to athletes who show a political side, whether it's NFL great Peyton Manning donating to George W. Bush's campaign, NBA great LeBron James donating to Democrats, baseball legend Henry Aaron donating to Hillary Clinton, or free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick spending his July 4 celebrating independence in Ghana. The Cubs' roster features good ol' boys from small, rural towns in the South, rich suburban kids who went to college, and players from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Japan. Many of them didn't even vote in the last U.S. presidential election. So don't worry too much about their politics.
What fans really would like to see is how the 2017 World Champion Cubs would handle that next White House invite.