Marcus Stroman Shares More on What He Dealt With in New York, And It Merits Attention

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Marcus Stroman Shares More on What He Dealt With in New York, And It Merits Attention

Chicago Cubs

When a talented free agent leaves his team for a new destination, there’s often a little (benign) animosity from the fan base, or the organization, itself, even if the parting was “mutual.” To an extent, it’s all a part of professional sports and can even be a healthy display of fandom. Sometimes there’s just a little playful beefing.

But at this point, I think it’s safe to say that new Cubs pitcher – and former Mets starter – Marcus Stroman has received a disproportionate amount of hate since leaving New York for Chicago. And worse, the motivation for much of it often extends beyond what has happened on the diamond, where Stroman was excellent last year.

Stroman has always been more willing than most professional athletes to speak his mind on the sort of issues that can trigger a defensive, emotional response from fans or non-fans or media, and that’s really unfortunate because he often has a lot to say that is worth listening to – for example, on the continued presence of racism inside the sport of baseball.

I doubt very much that the majority of Mets fans, MLB fans, or New Yorkers in general are out there spewing hate online or at the ballpark, but ignoring the problem under those pretenses isn’t a particularly kind or constructive approach. Very few athletes are interested in addressing these issues publicly, and since I want Marcus Stroman to feel welcomed and happy in Chicago, I thought we could take a moment to hear him out and try our best to understand what so many of us are often too quick to dismiss.

In reply to a Tweet suggesting that Stroman’s bad public breakup with the Mets could have more nefarious origins than your typical free agent departure, Marcus Stroman shared some of the experiences he has had as a Black professional athlete in New York.

It’s difficult for some of us to imagine any of the above, but that’s also the point of raising the issue. It’s impossible for communities to grow if they are never confronted with these realities and perspectives, and I applaud Stroman for bringing it to our attention. Even in 2022, that requires immense courage, and, sadly, often breeds even more negative attention and hate. For example, the kind of attention that this back page seems designed to elicit:

“Care” is the final word in that headline if the image is cut off for you.

To attempt some self-reflection in this space, let us all admit that we’re not perfect. I know we’d all like to believe that our city – or our favorite organization – would do more to support a Black player against this sort of hate, but Chicago’s history is hardly empty of racist concerns.

There’s still a lot of work to be done by all of us, no doubt. But for today, I just wanted to help amplify Stroman’s message, to remind some of us that racism persists even among the things we cherish most, and to hopefully help the newest Chicago Cub feel a little more comfortable in the city he’ll now call home.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami