8/26 Spectator sport

I can see how fans get frustrated when they’re sitting at home every night, watching the team struggle. When you go through it as a player, you can imagine it’s a little more intense and a little more pressure to go out there every night and try to play good baseball.

The thing about Chicago is it’s a really fair town. If you play hard and play the game the right way and you come up short, obviously, there will be disappointment but people will respect you for playing hard. The way we’ve played lately, I can understand why people are upset and have started to boo. People ask me about playing in Chicago, and they say, “If you don’t play well, you’re going to get booed.” At the same time, if you’re the right type of player, you’re harder on yourself than any fan will ever be on you.

I was booing myself when I was 0-for-10. They didn’t start booing until I was 0-for-15 or 0-for-20. They gave me five or 10 at-bats to figure things out. The fans here give you an honest chance.

The thing with us is our expectations were a lot higher for ourselves this year. The fans treat it the same way. They have high expectations, and they should. We’re a better team than what we’ve been playing. When we’re out on the field, at least from a personal standpoint, I don’t ever want to embarrass myself. Things that would embarrass me is not running a ball out and the ball falls and I’m not on second base — more like hustle things. Physical errors are going to happen. When you make mental errors, you embarrass yourself.

Even though we took a bad one Tuesday night, it’s only one game. We lost 15-to-whatever, and it felt like five losses to me, and I’m sure it felt like five or 10 losses to the fans as well, especially in the situation we’re in, coming off a rough road trip.

We can still finish the homestand 9-1. There’s always a possibility of that. That’s what we’re looking forward to now.

When I’m watching the games at home, I don’t throw things at the TV. Sometimes I feel like it. I know how hard the game is to play. It looks a lot easier when you’re watching on TV for sure. I’ll go, “Hey, that ball’s right down the middle — how could you miss that?” When you’re playing, it’s coming a lot faster. It makes it frustrating when you’re not able to help out. You see your teammates struggling through tough times during the season and you’re not there to help.

I saw Sam Fuld’s catch in L.A. That was a super nice catch. I yelled at my wife, “Hey, you’ve got to come in and see this.”

— Reed

25 Comments

Sam Fuld had several nice catchs L.A. Stealing a home run from Manny, a great diving catch, and that sliding catch into the fence face first. But I’m sure I’ve seen highlight reel catches like those from one Reed Johnson too!!! Can’t wait to get you back on the field, Reed! I miss your hustle.

When YOU made that face first catch last season, my wife and I were at the Candlelight in Rogers Park. We both yelled “HOLY CRAP!” Hardly anyone in the restaurant saw it until we yelled. During the replay, the entire place erupted.
We could really use your hustle! Get better soon, man.

i have enjoyed reading your blog all year long. your one of my favorite cubs of all time. i miss the energy and the hustle you provide the team. you play 100 percent every night and i totally respect that as a fan. im really hoping you come back in 2010. i have a daughter thats due any day now and i had a chicago cubs reed johnson jersey made for her. your biggest fan. TK

Reed, great to hear from you back on the blog. Yes, times have been rough lately; indeed all season. Cub fans aren’t used to having high expectations, but the last few years, we had to. This team is much better than we are getting. I know there are a lot of variables throughout the long season, not the least of which have been injuries for us. Yourself, of course, on the DL twice, Rami being out for so long, Z, Soto, etc. But our young guys and our pitching really held us together. I don’t understand what happened this month. We were hell on fire after the All Star break. Then, suddenly….what? I can’t put my finger on it. Some of it may have to do with ownership issues, some of it may have to do with personnel and personalities, some of it may have to do with an apparent lack of fire from our manager (love Lou, but gheez, he’s got to put some spark into the clubhouse for crying out loud!).

Anyway, I really appreciate your honesty and humility in your post. Fans will be fans and we sometimes forget that it IS a job for you all. I know many who work in baseball who love sports but love football more because it’s not thier JOB. Fans will boo, fans will cheer. It is what it is. But what we really, really want is for our team, OUR team, to play hard and to work hard, and to respect the JOB they are blessed to have as best they can.

Hope to see you back soon, and I really hope you will be a Cub next year, and perhaps in the Cubs organization for many years to come (coach, manager???)!

And PS – I support Milton Bradley, but honestly? At this point it’s getting a little ridiculous. I sat in the RF bleachers for most of the 90’s and through 2006. I never heard racial slurs. Yeah, the fans made comments, some funny, some not, some offensive, but I never heard racial slurs. Seriously. I truly hope that’s not happening now, but nevertheless, I wish he would just focus on his talents and grow up and BE the ballplayer and person with all of his talent can be.

Pretty timely remarks considering what’s being thrown out in the Chicago papers today. I’ll agree with what insobaseball said in his/her “PS”. It’s getting to be a circus sideshow and that’s just annoying.

Glad you checked back in. You crack me up yelling at the Mrs to check out Sam’s catch! Although I have to say I was yelling every time they showed a replay on tv. That was just fantastic.

Hey Reed,

I really appreciate this post and hearing what you think. I know it has been a tough year for you guys and I hope you know that despite the boo’s and junk, we really do love you guys and want to see you doing your best. Sometimes as fans we do forget that we don’t play baseball and we can’t do what you guys do. We know you guys are playing your hearts out…. because that is what Cubbies do. We don’t only appreciate the homers we appreciate the hustle and the hard work. We were very spoiled last year with how amazing you all were so it’s kinda hard to understand what’s going on now. I think that we care therefor we boo, if that makes any sense. We’ll always be your most devoted fans no matter what. Can’t wait for you to come back!!!!

~Natalie

Hey, Reed! I always enjoy your insight and perspective. I could not agree more about what you said about players who hustle and give their all > the fans will ALWAYS support them – which is why it has been such a bummer, not only for you, but for all us fans that enjoy seeing you play. Your comments about Sam Fuld were interesting, since the way he is playing the field; throwing his body into walls and such, reminds me an awful lot of you! Hurry back before it’s too late! E

I’d say Reed’s attitude sets him way apart from Milton Bradley. He thinks the Chicago fans “hate” him. If he were batting .300 with 80+ RBIs like his paycheck calls for I think it’d be a different story. Chicago fans are not getting what they are paying for with MB and the booing is justified.

How about them Bears….. Team sucks without ya Reed… I knew they would.. It’s all documented on this site.. I haven’t looked into your business, but I hope Hendry has enough sense to resign you if your contract is coming up… You are the true leadoff hitter and starting CF of this team, and I wouldn’t want another from any other team or this one… It’s too bad folks in the clubhouse have too much going on to recognize that… Thanks for the effort though… and thanks for getting hurt trying to get us a win.. You are worth more than you get paid and that doesn’t get said about MLB players very often… But, it is true in your case..

Great post Reed! I am glad you get excited when you see Sam Fuld make a great catch and see his hustle. The fact that almost immediately after Sam made those catches in LA…the announcers and media and bloggers start comparing the hustle and effort to yours! I can’t think of a better compliment!! Being at a good majority of the games at Wrigley…I don’t recall the fans ever booing you when you hit a tough stretch…most Chicago fans (North siders anyway) are very knowledgeable. Sure we want a win, but the effort play after play that you demonstrate tells everyone that you DO care about the team and us fans. I know that my family still cheers you after an 0 for 4 with three K’s because of your hustle and love for the game! I have lost count of how many times I read posts here saying “I wish we had a team of Reed Johnson’s!” Hurry back soon, Reed….I would rather see true teammates and go-getters bust their rears giving 100% and see the team finish under .500 than to see lack-luster, selfish and sloppy INDIVIDUALS that seem to be drifting through the season and cashing their paychecks finishing ten games over .500!

Reed, I couldnt of said it better myself! We will support a player who hustles and we will give a player a chance to get out of a slump. As fans, its tough to wear a players shoes when they are struggling. We did have high expectations from this team since day one, and still do. But we all know that the “you know what” has hit the fan.
Thanks for your hustle, dedication, and pride you take, not only as a ball player, but as a Cub. Lets hope you get more healthy playing time with us in years to come.

RJ,Can’t wait to see you back on the field. Would like to see outfield: LF-SamFuld CF-ReedJohnson LF-KosukeFukudome.
Seems to me this losing streak started with the pickup of Jeff Baker, sure he had some pretty good at bats, but we need Fontenot at second. Of course it didnt start there, Hendry trading out most of the bullpen didn’t leave much room for error.
Hope to see you back SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reed!!! How is your foot doing? As great as Sam has been playing we need your HUSTLE back in the line up!! We miss you!!!

Reed-

I am a die hard cubs fan, and I can say you are my favorite player in this club. This team needs more players like you. You have a great attitude about the game, and I can see you truly love playing. If only your teammates took some notes from you. You always play all out no matter what the score is. I feel that you are a big part of this team, not only on the field but just your presence affects your team. Your attitude and determination rubs off. I hope you return healthy as soon as possible, because this clubhouse needs you to pick them up!

Really miss you. Heard you started some light jogging today. That’s good. I love the cubbies but this year has really hurt. I can’t believe our lack of offense and fundamentals. We gave so many games away by not executing with timely hitting and poor defense(excluding you and a few others). This team just looks flat this year and doesn’t have the heart and soul it had last year. I hope next year we can get the “magic” back. You better be back and given more playing time. As for booing the home players at Wrigley ,it makes me sick! Booing a guy who is struggling through a slump isn’t helpful. If you are really trying your best you shouldn’t be booed.It is just meanspirited and wrong.These aren’t real fans who do this. Hope you are back soon,we need your enthusiasm and talent. Take care, Mary R.

fran361ace is right on target. Baker likes to show other players up, and this is not how a team operates. Today, he got in Bradley’s way, and prevented him from getting to a pop-up. Bradley got blamed, but I have seen the replay several times, and Baker is at fault. He has also done things like that to Theriot. Theriot is the captain on defense, but Baker tries to compete with him on grounders and pop-ups. There have been several double plays that have not been completed because Baker tries to call the shots. Then he complains that Theriot is too short. Middle infielders are usually the smallest players on any team, and even if Ryan isn’t the 5′ 11″ he is listed at, he is normal size for a shortstop. I wonder what he said when Miles played shortstop! Also, Baker has failed to cover second base several times on grounders hit to Theriot’s side of the base. Guys like Theriot and Baker would never bad-mouth any of their team-mates to the media, but Baker should take note that the fans do not appreciate his antics. That is why the fans are silent when he comes to the plate, but they cheer for little Mikey, even though he is struggling this year.

Correction……. I meant guys like Theriot and Bradley. Baker DOES bad-mouth his team mates to the media, as evidenced by the interview he gave in Denver after he learned he was being traded to the Cubs.

~Reed~
I really, really miss you out there, but I get very excited when Sam Fuld is playing. I think that you two play a lot alike. I love your guys hustle and the fact that you two never seem to give up. You can see it in your body language. Then there is the part of that you two chase down balls with no regard to where your body is and are happy as long as you catch the ball. Fuld’s face plant into the fence and robbing Manny of a homerun, your countless meetings with the brick behind the ivy and the very nice rob of a Prince Fielder grandslam! Great plays. You two play with so much heart that I love having you out there. You are the little spark plugs. 🙂 I agree with fran361ace and edelweiss. I am so glad to see someone that agrees that Fontenot should be playing second. The Cajun Connection have made some incredible plays right there up the middle, they work so well together that I would take Fontenot’s stuggling bat for the amazing defense those two can offer. This was a great blog, Reed, I think we forget that you all are people, too and that this is a job for you. We won yesterday, seeing Sori’s bat come alive was very refreshing to the fans and I’m sure even more so to him. Hopefully if his knee does need surgery they hurry that along so he can be rehabbed and better for next year. Hope your recovery is speedy, we MISS you! Go Cubs Go!
~Milli~

Ok.. To you people who don’t like team mates bad mouthing each other; you would have hated me in the huddle… I called you every little girl name and threatened to unload on you in practice if you failed to win the game due to not being man enough in the moment… Now that I think about it… I never got invited to any parties or hung out with my team mates.. It was just business.. I showed up to practice, workout, and played.. But, never took it outside the game. Not even in high school.. The animal came out, and it wasn’t pretty enough to take home to mom and dad, know what I mean. But, anyway.. When you are a fighter, it upsets you when candy ashes don’t try and screw you out of winning.. Just like in the work place when some lazy slob is always asking you to help them and when you ask them they are busy on break. You know what I am talking about.. There is at least one lazy slob on the Cubs roster who could have put forth an effort to start hitting the curveball early in the season and never hit the cages to work it out… Their contract is guaranteed, and their true nature revealed.. I am not saying names but I think we all know who I am talking about.. And that attitude is a cancer… I heard it come out of Zambrano’s mouth when he predicted when he would retire.. The mood seems to be cashing in and quitting… not hustling and scrapping to win.. I feel 99% Reed here wanted to win, and Theriot, and Lee.. and I am not hinting anything toward the pitching staff.. They did great.. But, there is an old dawg trying to learn new American tricks in the outfield, a horrible work ethic who is way overpaid in the outfield, and a guy who never had anyone accept him for who he is to just play ball and have fun in the outfield.. I would trade Soriano for what I could get, send Fukudome back to Japan, and let Bradley know he is home in Chicago.. Good or bad.. Bradley is a good guy down deep.. He never got arrested for assault at a nightclub.. He just hates the taste of losing.. Compared to Soriano.. That is golden to me.. Soriano has the talent to do anything and he doesn’t even try now that he has his contract… Bradley needs some love from the fans.. If he got it, he would fight like a dog for the rest of his playing days trying to win for Chicago.. But, all that hate isn’t doing any good.. The whole world doesn’t want Bradley… Chicago should open up and love on him like he is Brian Urlacher.. He’ll try… He’ll put in the extra effort.. But, the man needs the support from the fans more than any other.. He has been from city to city being hated.. Tell Bradley I said thanks for trying… I know he worked with Lou and put forth the effort… I appreciate it.. But, Fukudome and Soriano got to go… Soriano probably has a lot of trade value.. take them all and trade for one REAL all star caliber left handed outfielder…

Reed I’ve got to say you are the man! I am a hustle guy myself. I think hustle allows smart players like yourself the ability to be able to spark the team and either get them hot or keep them hot. With that being said I cannot wait to see you in action again. We have 35 games to go and only 7 of them are against teams over .500. We have 19 home games left too! In addition we are finally getting healthy as a team and we are only 5.5 games back and only 4 in the loss column for the wild card. I just want you to know we as cubs fans (the greatest fans in the world) have not lost hope. If we get hot, (which I think we will) we will be hot at the right time. I just want to say thank you for all you have done for us and thank you for being the player/person you are. No matter what happens in the future we will never ever forget you. You have put your stamp on our franchise and we hope you will stay with us for the remainder of your career. As for now let’s get into the postseason and kick some butt!!! Shout out all the way from New Mexico. Go Cubs me and my entire family watch you guys every time we can on WGN.

Reed take your time and let your injuries heal really well the rest of this year. There is no reason for you to join a team that has no direction. Pinella is only going to platoon you with Soriano (if the shot helps) or Fuld in left field. Better if you could come back to Chicago in 2010, I believe you will be better than ever before and I feel extremely confident that you will be the main Cubbies “Man” in 2010. See ya.

Hey Reed, your the man. I like your comment about throwing stuff at the TV….tell Mr. Kevin Gregg he owes me a lamp.

~Hey Reed~
I’ve already posted a comment here, but I figured this might be the easiest way of getting word to one or more of the Cubs assuming you have time to read your comments (probably more right now being on the DL and all). Anyway, I sent a picture to Mike Fontenot of him and Ryan Theriot to see if Fontenot would sign it. It was a picture that I took while at the August 8th’s Colorado game, it was during the Cubbies BP. Anyway, I sent the picture to Font and in less than a month I got it back, signed by him and Ryan Theriot! Please, if you can, tell them thank you for me. This was a big surprise and something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Something that took them a few minutes to do has really made a difference to me. Thank you so much for being an amazing team and hope to see you back soon.
~Milli~

Too bad all the players are not like that. My grandson and I had a totally different experience with Jeff Baker. We were sitting by the Cubs dugout, where we had won seats we never could have afforded. Baker and Milton Bradley were in the vicinity, and Bradley was very nice about signing a baseball I had caught during batting practice. Jeff Baker, however, said that he never signs anything for free. My grandson, who is only seven, said that Baker makes him feel creepy. This happened a few weeks ago, and several people witnessed the incident. They were probably important people because they were sitting in the expensive seats.

Reed you are amazing, you are one of the few guys on the team that really knows the meaning of “hustle” and “effort” you understand the fans real well and yes this year has been frustraiting so hopefully next year will be better and you better not leave the cubs we need you next year. Hope to c you in the lineup soon your awsome!!!!!

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