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One of the many great things about young players getting called up to the big club is seeing their genuine excitement about playing the Major Leagues, playing in Chicago, and playing for the Cubs. Over time, a “been there, done that” attitude develops, and it’s easy for fans to forget how exciting the big game is. Since we, as fans, live vicariously through the players, it’s nice not to forget.

Enter infielder Adrian Cardenas, 24, who was just called up to the big leagues for the first time yesterday. From ESPNChicago:

The proverbial kid in the candy store, Cardenas spent the afternoon taking in the old ballpark at Clark and Addison.

“It’s awesome,” Cardenas said. “The ivy, I pushed it a little bit and didn’t realize it was that thick. I tried to stick a ball in there to see what happens. I’m just a little overwhelmed. Anything I say right now would be cliché so I’ll spare you the clichés. But it’s great.”

Yes, Cardenas was every bit as “aw, shucks” as he sounded, smiling broadly at all times and not a bit self conscious over being so giddy.

“I didn’t even see the stadium until I was out here,” he said. “I couldn’t see it from far away. It kind of sneaks up on you and I thought that was pretty fun. Right in the neighborhood, that’s awesome. The seats on the apartment buildings, or lofts, that’s amazing.”

Wrigley Field is amazing. The Cubs are amazing. It’s all amazing.

That article is worth a read, because it leaves you with, well, just a good feeling about this enterprise of Cubs fandom. It’s fun to cheer for a guy like Adrian Cardenas.

  • Frankum

    I honestly am a bit frustrated with the attitude some of the players take towards fans. I was at the last game at Cincy about 2 hours early. When the Cubs came out to stretch and throw, only three players had any interaction with the fans. LaHair, Mather, and Campana. The rest of the guys didn’t even look our way. Particularly DeJesus, Castro, Barney, Soriano, and Stewart. I know it could get old to them, but we drove 5 hours to support them and didn’t even get a wave when they were coming or going.

    • Drew

      I can see your frustration, but it’s a little unfair to assume that’s the attitude those guys have with every fan at every game.

      • Frankum

        Yes, my evidence is anecdotal. But, considering how much money they make and how an average fan can only go to MAYBE a game a year, shouldn’t some interaction be expected at every game from every player? I wouldn’t have said anything if they had acknowledged the Cubs fan standing their cheering them….but they didn’t even look our way.

        • hansman1982

          (this is going to sound snarky, but it isn’t) Is it possible they didn’t hear you? I know I can block my wife out when she talks to me from 2 feet away in a quiet atmosphere.

          • Frankum

            Probably not. I only say that because there were about 40 of us when they came out and we were going ape shit, lol. And at that time the Cubs side of the stadium was EMPTY. They didn’t even look our way.

        • J Wilson

          I respectfully disagree. I don’t think they “owe” fans anything besides playing good baseball. What’s so cool about stop-and-chatting (Curb reference) with ball players anyway? I never understood it. You aren’t going to form some magical friendship, Sori isn’t going to yell up to you in the bleachers and say “hey you, yeah you, how about we get a beer after the game?” If you ante up for the Dempster Foundation events, then yeah, you’re entitled to player interaction.

          • Ogyu

            I agree with Wilson. Too many fans have an attitude of entitlement these days. And given the thousands of morons that each player doubtless has to deal with on a regular basis, I can’t blame anyone who chooses to just ignore the nonsense and focus on business.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, it’s hard to judge them, since some days they might be on, and some days they might stick to themselves. It is a fan-driven business, though, and obviously we hope they always remember that.

      • Frankum

        You nailed my point about the fan-driven business….. The Cubs that did come over spent A LOT of time with us, so that was awesome. It just felt that the more experienced guys could have cared less about the fans.

    • hansman1982

      When I go to games I certainly don’t expect the players to give me anything. The sport of baseball is so difficult that I want their attention focused solely on whatever they need to focus on to succeed, even if it is someone on another team. If they need to block me out as a fan before or after the game so they can go on to make millions of dollars, then so be it.

      With that said, I LOVE players who do take time for the fans. Brett Jackson took 3 minutes after the ICubs opener to answer my questions and he immediately went from a Cubs player I like to, quite possibly, my favorite Cub.

    • Noah

      I also think a lot of the Latin players have a different view on fan interactions. That, plus English is Soriano’s and Castro’s second language. I think the players that do partake in the fan interactions are a great thing and should be lauded for the fact they do so. But I also believe that’s above and beyond the actual call of duty for these guys. I’d much rather have a team of jerks who were very good ballplayers than mediocre nice guys.

      • Can’t think of a cool name?

        “I also think a lot of the Latin players have a different view on fan interactions.”

        Based on?

    • Cedlandrum

      So I might agree with you, except they were out there to get their work in. If they were done and just hanging around then that is another thing. I have been to many games and when players are stretching, running, and playing catch they tend to be more focused. Almost every interaction I have had has been in times where they are done or before they get their work in.

  • Gregb

    I talked to a limo driver who drives around alot of chicago athletes and he said by far cubs players not all mind you but some are high matinence then again thats just someones opinion who knows

  • Scot

    Nicely said frankum!

  • Michael Mendick

    Couldn’t disagree more with Frankum. I went to the Phillies/Cubs game in Philly a couple of weeks back. I sat in the front row in left field and Soriano was a riot. He was talking smack with the Phillies fans and would stare into the bleachers in search of Cubs fans. He was waving to us and I thought he was awesome. Might not respect his approach at the plate, his selection of the biggest bat in baseball, his horrible defense and base running, or his deteriorating skill set…but I definitely respect the way he interacted with the fans.

  • djriz

    Welcome to Chicago, Mr. Cardenas.

    This story reminds me of all the old time stories, like when Ronnie (Santo) came up. This type of attitude is what makes being a sports fan so cool.

    Now I hope Cardenas becomes a starter and then a star because he appreciates what he has!

  • John Moore

    Frankum,
    Can’t speak to others, but Stewart has always been more than kind and very accessible. By the way the night you speak of he was very ill.

  • Drew

    I’ve been to dozens of Cub games at Wrigley and I have to admit, even as a 43drummer yr old fan I get a little choked up every time I walk in that place. I can not imagine being a young rookie actually taking the field.

    Best of Luck Mr. CARDENAS. LONG MAY YOU BLEED CUBBIE BLUE!

  • MaxM1908

    By the way, how about Cardenas’ at-bat last night? I thought he had a nice approach at the plate. He seemed very confident, and he hit a screamer of a line drive right at a Braves’ infielder. I hope he continues making contact like that.

  • Katina

    I really need to get my butt back to Chicago and visit Wrigley. I miss going to games.

    As far as some Cubbies, not paying attention to fans *shrug*. Sometimes they’re in a good mood and will talk to fans. Sometimes they’re in a bad mood. After all, they are human.

    One of my favorites is Randy Wells. I went to a game at Nats park, got there during batting practice. I got his attention and he threw a ball up to me, which I promptly dropped between the outfield wall and the padding. He said “Hold on a sec” and grabbed another ball for me. He didn’t have to do that since I was clumsy and didn’t hold on to the first ball….

  • Painhertz

    “Anything I say right now would be cliché so I’ll spare you the clichés.”

    This bit kills me. If he can manage to stick he’ll have the town eating out of his hand. ‘Specially if he’s really as glib and smart as he sounds. Now…if he can only play baseball.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yeah, I’m not sure that’s “aw, shucks…”: that’s pretty darn clever!

  • TheDudeAbides

    Line up 10 people and you get 10 different personalities. Professional athletes are no different. Some need to avoid fans to stay focused and others don’t. Not fair to expect the same from all. I learned that a long time ago. Some people are smart, save money and vote Republican and others choose to avoid understanding money and choose to vote Democrat.

    • LaHair4MVP

      I was with you until the last sentence.

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