By Lewis Burik
The Toronto Blue Jays being in town this past weekend meant only one thing to this GAGuy: The return of one the North Side’s lost sons. The re-emergence of an icon of our magical 2016 playoff run. The arrival of a prince of Latin Swag. That’s right. The Blue Jays in town meant the one and only Miguel Montero was back in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
Miguel Montero was last a Cub in the late days of June. We saw him melt down after an embarrassing showing against the Nationals in our nation’s capital. And we saw him unceremoniously DFA’d after that disastrous day in D.C. when anyone and everyone on the Nats was running at will against Miggy and Jake.
With that gut-punch of a loss, (one of the most disheartening of 2017) the Cubs fell to 39-38 on the season. A second place team in a second rate division, struggling mightily to stay above .500.
And where are the Cubs now? Has Miggy’s banishment to Canada fixed some perceived locker room poison and righted the ship of the defending World Champions? I would argue STRONGLY that the answer is a resounding NO.
Sure, the Cubs are now in first place in a watered down N.L. Central. Sure, a blazing hot streak after the All-Star Game has given the Cubs a marginally larger cushion over the .500 mark. And sure, Miguel Montero is batting a paltry .083 with the Blue Jays since they picked him up (Yikes, Miggy).
But a lot of the big-picture problems with the 2017 Cubs remain. Situational hitting, manufacturing runs, having consistently professional at-bats, and most importantly, clutch hitting (especially off the bench) have been in short order with our current lineup.
In 2016, Miggy was the guy who checked all the boxes you see above. His run of clutch hits in 2016 is nothing short of legendary.
Now the haters and losers will say Miggy’s departures pushed Willy towards the superstar he was becoming before he went down in San Francisco with a hamstring strain. But regardless of Willy’s development, the ballclub misses Miggy’s bat off the bench and I miss his presence in the clubhouse.
Miggy brought “We are Good” into the world, and for that we will always owe him a great debt. Sure, Willy created “We are Back”, but now “He is Out”, and “I am Lonely”. With all due respect to Al Avila, I like my catcher’s English broken and their hearts in Venezuela.
So I hope you thought fondly of Miguel when he strolled to the batter’s box this weekend at Wrigley. GANation will not soon forget you.