Ian Stewart left Thursday’s intrasquad game with a quad injury, and has been sent out for an MRI. The Chicago Cubs are tripping all over themselves to tell the fans that the injury is minor and the MRI is just a precautionary test to make sure there is not a bigger problem on the horizon. As a result of this injury, Stewart will be out of a couple of the Cubs preseason games. Regardless of why he was sent out for a test, he has relit the anger and hatred of the fan base who already view him as a bum, and a waste of a roster spot.
The hatred Cub fans have for Stewart is no secret, and if you follow his twitter account, you will be entertained without end as he does reply to all of the hate tweets he gets. This activity is usually done at night, and from what I have seen, he does not pull any punches at those who feel the need to send jabs his way over the twitterverse. In my opinion, fair is fair. If you cannot take the heat of a nasty reply, then don’t send a nasty hate filled tweet out of that person to begin with. On the same note, if you are one of those who call him out for sending unprofessional tweets out to those who attack him, you have a very long list to attack as those fans deserve to get heat from you as well. Just because someone is famous and is in the public light, does not make them fair game.
Why there is so much hatred for Stewart is a mystery. Dabs wrote about this a little while ago, but I am still confused. Some hate him because he was injured for half the year, and did not perform the half that he was there. Add that to their thought process of the man he was traded for, Tyler Colvin, having a good season and you have a reason they are angry at Stewart and hate him. For the record though, that second part is not even true. Look at the home and road splits for Colvin and you will see that when he was not playing in Coors, his stats were fairly pathetic; just as they were the previous year in Wrigley for the Cubs.
They also hate him because he was not with the Cubs while he was rehabbing his wrist, and was spending time on twitter insulting the fans. Reread the second paragraph again to see why he was insulting some fans. What they do not know (or did not at the time) was that Stewart actually was rehabbing his wrist, just not with his team. He was out with Rod Carew, who many would deem as a good mentor for any player, especially while rehabbing and trying to get better at a sport you have struggled at recently.
I digress, after last year’s injury filled season Stewart was non-tendered, making him a free agent. This was the news that Cub Nation had been waiting months for, and they rejoiced. However, the joy did not last for the Cub fans as the Cubs signed Stewart to a one year, $2 Million dollar contract. This angered the masses, as they would have rather seen equally pathetic Luis Valbuena man the hot corner. The fans were outraged that Theo Epstein would waste money on Stewart when they already knew that he sucked. They could not understand why Epstein and Jed Hoyer would waste their time or money on someone who was obviously not cut out for baseball at the major league level.
However, what fans are forgetting, Stewart’s contract (are you paying attention?) is a non-guaranteed deal. What that means, is if Stewart is unable to make the team, the Cubs can cut him and not owe him a cent. The deal only pays out if Stewart actually makes the team. The only way he makes the team, is if he is healthy and earns the job. The Cubs are not going to allow him to make the roster if he does not earn the job out of camp. In fact, Cubs Manager Dale Sveum said that the job was “Stewart’s to win” and not his job to lose. The Cubs are not going to pay him $2 Million to suck during the regular season if there is a better option.
All of the anger over the Stewart contract is ridiculous. At the end of the day the deal is nothing more than any other non-roster invite to spring training. If he makes the team, he earns the money. If he fails to make the team, the Cubs can send him on his way without having to owe him anything. What this deal does, is to give him a chance to prove that he is healthy and worthy of a roster spot. There is literally no downside to the deal he was signed to. There is no reason for Cub fans to be pissed off at his being in camp, and there sure as hell is no reason to root against him.
The third base job is going to come down to Stewart, Valbuena or Brent Lillibridge. Out of those three options, which has ever actually had any real success at the major league level? Fans should be rooting for Stewart to succeed instead of wasting their time and energy hating him.
But, if you are a hater, enjoy the injury and hope he stays sidelined. Because if he cannot play, he will be unable to earn a roster spot and you will be rid of him.