CHISportsNation

I recently read an article about Mike Montgomery being unhappy about not being given a chance to start. Now, I am not writing this to extol Montgomery’s virtues or lack thereof. You can make your own decision about the validity of his complaint. No, what made me cringe was the comments on the article from fans.

“Shut up and pitch!” “You’re on a good team, just do your job.” “You make millions shut up and quit crying.” These are a few of the comments I saw.  I get it, we as fans always want our players to be team players and do what’s best for the collective. But to me, comments like that make you sound like a meathead. It’s easy for us to sit on the couch drinking our ice cold Budweiser and accuse these guys of being selfish. I’m not saying that isn’t somewhat valid, but how often do we ever try to put ourselves in their shoes? I know that’s nearly impossible because these guys do make millions of dollars and they do play a game that we all love and would love to do for a living ourselves. Let’s give it a shot though. Just for kicks.

Montgomery was acquired from Seattle in 2016. He had been a starter for the Mariners, and not terrible. He was used mostly in relief  with the Cubs, and as we all have etched in our memories for the rest of our lives, he got the save in Game 7 of the World Series. Now to be fair, it’s not like he was the go-to closer for that game. It was extra innings, and he was out there because pitchers were becoming scarce in the game, and he can go multiple innings. So take that emotion out of it. The point is he was a handy guy to have around.

Last year Montgomery did fill in with some starts due to injury. Fourteen starts to be exact, and he was OK. Not great. Not terrible either. My guess is coming into this year with the departure of Jake Arrietta, Montgomery thought he was going to get his shot at being in the regular rotation. I know I thought that. Enter Tyler Chatwood. We knew the other 4 spots were secure, with Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, and Jose Quintana. It was that 5th spot that was up in the air, and Chatwood won it. So you’re Mike Montgomery, poised to be a starter again, and this happens. Tell me you wouldn’t be disappointed. I’m sure he feels like he’s earned the chance. Not to mention, up until the past 2 starts, Chatwood hasn’t been very good.

Also can I make this argument? I actually like the fact that Montgomery has the confidence in himself to think he deserves to start? It’s kind of like a backup quarterback. Do you want someone who’s satisfied with being a backup, or do you want someone who believes in himself and will work his tail off to become a starter? Think of it as a promotion at your job. You all play for the same team, the company, but deep down inside don’t you harbor a little resentment when someone else passes you by for a step up the corporate ladder when you know you can do the job? This has happened to me a couple of times at my current job. No, I don’t hate the person who got the promotion. It isn’t their fault. But it can be disheartening to say the least. You get emotional and say ” I’m looking for another job.” Well, Montgomery doesn’t really have that option, but he’s frustrated, just like you are when you get passed over. Do I wish he’d keep it to himself? Yeah, that’s fair. You should probably air your grievances in Joe Maddon’s office and not in the media. I’m sure he has done this too by the way. It’s kind of like if you get passed up, you probably shouldn’t take to Facebook or Twitter and express your unhappiness.

Now maybe Joe Maddon will go to a 6 man rotation later in the year, as has been the rumor, and all of this will iron itself out. And if you want to rip Mike Montgomery, I can’t tell you you’re wrong. You’re a fan. I just know that yes, these athletes make a lot of money, but they also have a very short window in which to do so.  That window is also short for maximizing your talents and your career. All I am saying is before you throw out “Shut up and do what you’re told”, think about it in terms not as a baseball player, but as an occupation, and imagine how you’d feel if someone said that to you.

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