There he is, index finger raised to lips, chiding me gently to be quiet, letting me know that it’ll all be better soon. But it won’t be better, Starlin, it just won’t. Where else will I find such a meme-able mug? Who else can I alternately defend and deride, sometimes in the same inning?
Yours was the first shirsey my son, then a toddler, ever wore. Your debut game, which I watched just before heading to the theater to catch Iron Man II. For a hot minute or two, you were the only thing worth watching on a black hole of a team from which not even the bright light of your indefatigable spirit could escape. By the time the Cubs had finally put a team around you, many among us had turned our backs on you.
No one will ever accuse you of having the world’s greatest focus or of being the most consistent performer, but when you stood tall, you were often able to carry the team on your shoulders. That heavy lifting, however, took its toll and your back was soon bowed beneath the weight of expectation. For much of the season you saw your replacement when you looked left. Then you had to watch him from the bench as it appeared your season was going up in the flames of so many hot takes.
But then you rose from the ashes like a gloriously goofy phoenix, teammates clapping all the while. And now you’ve been set to fly off to New York, where I can only hope the cheers you hear will not be of the Bronx variety. Well, I mean, I hope people in the Bronx cheer for you but not in the manner from which that little idiom is taken. You’re gonna wake up in the City that Never Sleeps and I think you’re gonna make it there, Starlin. I really do.
I’d be lying though, if I said I was going to miss defending you at every turn. I’m also going to miss tweeting out that shushing picture of you every time you so much as beat out an infield single or make a nice stop at second. Actually, it might be the latter item that I’m most broken up about. Having Ben Zobrist is going to ease my pain too. But Starlin, you kooky cad, you were just such a character.
I think this is one of those deals that will work out well for both teams, but it’s going to be really tough for me to give up that picture, man. Vaya con Dios, Starlin.
More on Adam Warren to come.