Jason Heyward’s farewell to the Wrigley faithful was this weekend, and while he isn’t explicitly retiring yet, Heyward’s future in the game is certainly unclear.
It is for that reason that Heyward’s salute to Chicago in The Players’ Tribune is hitting the feelings. Heyward is saying thanks and goodbye to the fans, and it does leave you wondering if this is it for him.
Among Heyward’s thoughts, this is genuinely touching, especially knowing how it’s gone:
Other than that, I just truly hope that Cubs fans remember how much I have always loved and appreciated them.
Even before I signed with Chicago, I always had respect and admiration for the fan base here. It’s not easy to show up night in, night out, day in and day out, dealing with some of the weather in April, the heat in the summer, the doubleheaders. They’d gone a lot of years without making it to the mountaintop, but they never stopped showing up, never stopped caring. And I’m very, very proud to have been a part of the group that gave this fanbase that closure in 2016.
There’s real, genuine love there on my end when it comes to Cubs fans. It’s not just lip service. That’s real. It’s why when I would run out onto the field before our games, I would always give our fans that “I love you” sign.
And, you know what? Let’s be honest here: When you say you love someone, or you love something, you understand … that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Sometimes there’s sacrifice involved. Sometimes things can get rocky. That’s just how love is sometimes, right?
With me … things weren’t always easy on the field in Chicago. I didn’t always perform how I wanted to during my time as a Cub. And when I didn’t come through, I felt for our fans more than anyone. When they hurt, I hurt. But during the especially tough moments for me as a player, I always felt like the Cubs fans were still hopeful, still optimistic, still pulling for me just as hard. That they were always on the edge of their seats, expecting something positive to happen, regardless of how things had gone in the past.
Jason Heyward was here with the Chicago Cubs for some of the most important seasons in the organization’s history. He was a leader. He worked as hard as he could. The production wasn’t always there, but everything else he could give was.
I highly encourage you to read Heyward’s piece at The Players’ Tribune.