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TAKE 2: Cubs need to monitor Soler, not worry about goat heads

Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(AP file photo)
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts smiles Dec. 5, 2011 outside Wrigley Field. On Wednesday, a package containing a goat’s head was addressed to Ricketts and was left in a box outside the ballpark. Ricketts is currently in negotiations with city officials and neighborhood business people about the $300 million renovation of Wrigley Field.

It’s probably safe to say that the Cubs have had better weeks. In the span of a few hours Wednesday, a package containing a severed goat’s head arrived at Wrigley Field and top minor-league prospect Jorge Soler headed toward an opposing dugout with a baseball bat. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:

Musick: Hooray, baseball season has arrived! So why did every story about the Cubs this week seem to do with something other than baseball?

Styf: I’d love to be light-hearted about this stuff, but I’m not sure people fully grasp how sick both incidents were. Someone had to kill a goat to do this. And Soler apparently was out to hurt someone. I sincerely hope the goat head came from a butcher shop or somewhere it was already dead and it wasn’t actually killed just to leave wrapped up outside Gate K. 

Musick: Agreed. I know opinions vary on the Cubs and Wrigley Field and the rooftops, but can’t we all agree to leave goats out of this? The supposed curse from 1945 and the goat-head incidents (this was not the first) serve to make all Cubs fans look bad.

Styf: Speaking of bad, it’s got to be a bad sign that Soler was sent out of Florida to meet with management. He’s not even expected to return when his five-game Florida State League-imposed suspension is up. At least that’s what the Daytona Beach News Journal is saying. If he did return the next game, he’d face the same Clearwater team he just went after with a bat.

Musick: It might be a good idea to wait until Clearwater clears out of town before allowing Soler to return to the club. Soler obviously is tough at the plate – he has 10 hits in his first 23 at-bats this season – but is he tough between the ears? Maybe it’s time to find a minor-league mentor to help Soler adjust to life as a professional, sort of like Alfonso Soriano has taken Starlin Castro under his wing.

Styf: If only Crash Davis were real. I was around Tampa Bay when Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young were there. Both had somewhat similar minor league incidents. Both had bad endings in Tampa, one worse than the other. Google “Elijah Dukes gun” if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Hopefully this ends better.

Musick: I’m guessing that it will. Most of us did stupid things when we were 21, and the Cubs have 30 million reasons to provide support to Soler. But if he fails to mature and if other top prospects do not fulfill their potential, the Cubs will have problems way bigger than an unwanted delivery to Gate K.

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