A familiar theme in the baseball world since the days of Dusty Baker is that a sizable contingent of Chicago Cubs fans are racist. LaTroy Hawkins said it, Milton Bradley said it, Dusty Baker all but said it, and then there was Jacque Jones who really said it.
And he’s still really saying it.
But perhaps as much as anything, Jones needs a positive experience in baseball again. Even his past two full seasons, with an underachieving Cubs team, weren’t good ones. A free-agent signing after the 2005 season, Jones was deemed a disappointment despite batting .285 and matching his career high of 27 home runs in his first season at Wrigley Field.
When he received racist hate mail, Jones called out Chicago fans and compared them, unfavorably, with Twins fans. That didn’t exactly make him a fan favorite.
“I said what I said in the beginning, and everyone was upset, you know, ‘Twins fans are different than Cubs fans.’ And it’s still true,” he said. “After that, I didn’t say a word.”
As for the racism, Jones said, “I got some letters and words and stuff like that. It was a learning experience. You would think that stuff would be dead and gone, but it’s not. But I kind of took everything in stride and still went out and did my job.
“Looking back on that situation, I was proud of myself for doing what I did, being able to still go out and play good baseball.” TwinCities.com.
Most thinking Cubs fans were greatly embarrassed when Jones was booed in that first season. The fans weren’t so much booing Jones’ performance; they were booing his presence – he was not the right guy for the job that year, and fans were very disappointed with the signing. That doesn’t excuse the booing, but it partially explains it.
As for the racial items, it continues to perplex and sadden and disappoint me.