Preparation for annual summer sales puts some Chicago kids in a somber mood – Boston Herald

It was a beautiful night for baseball on Monday when the Chicago Cubs returned home to play the Pittsburgh Pirates in a rare two-game homestand at Wrigley Field.

Fans can file away knowing this could be the last time they see some of their favorites in a Cubs uniform, whether it’s stars like Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, or until the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Be one of a handful of relievers.

It marks. Second Annual Summer Sale By Cubs president Jed Hoyer, who picked up tackles Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo last July, a memorable 48-hour stretch changed the direction of the franchise that began Trade of Rizzo to the New York Yankees.

It’s too early to grade the return, especially since Hoyer has acquired many lower-level prospects instead of those on the cusp of a big-league call-up. But young talent including Pete Crowe-Armstrong, Kevin Alcantara and Alexander Canario have shown significant improvement in their first years in the Cubs system, and Hoyer is confident of reviving form at the expense of contending in 2022 or ’23. The decision will be fruitful. In the long term.

But that’s a ways off, and on Monday fans settled in to see two of the few teams still out of contention, not even pretending to be long shots in the expansive wild-card race.

This mini-homestand will mostly be a chance for the Cubs front office to show off their trade chops before the deadline, a final farewell for fans and a last look at the old ballpark for players in the market. They call home.

“It’s crazy to think you can wake up one day and not be here,” Happ said. “It’s part of the game. It’s part of what we sign up for.

Cubs manager David Ross said before Monday’s game that players should always look around and appreciate “how fortunate we are to be able to put this uniform on every day.” That may be true, but when you’re going through a 162-game season you probably don’t have time to smell the roses and remind yourself daily that you’re living the dream of millions of kids.

A player has no choice but to be a little selfish and think about his playing time, numbers and potential for a big payday as a free agent and take care of his family. The “looking around” part only happens at times like this, when a team is an obvious seller like the Cubs, and you’ve had a good enough season to interest at least one contending team. .

Naturally, everyone says they don’t want to leave, regardless of the Cubs’ position in the standings.

Contreras and Happ have grown up in the organization and have been embraced by Cubs fans who appreciate their ability to overcome early obstacles and become All-Stars. Veterans like Drew Smiley and David Robertson have only been here a few months, but also insist they’re happy playing for the Cubs.

Of course there are some players who desperately want to leave the North Side and get a chance to win a ring, but the unofficial rules of trade deadline interviews dictate that they should keep those feelings to themselves.

Ross believes the players’ satisfaction speaks to the Cubs’ ownership and coaching staff, who he said are excited to come to the ballpark every day.

“When I was a player, there were some places I wasn’t excited to go to the ballpark,” he said.

Ross declined to say what team he played for that made it difficult for him to get to the park, but you can bet it wasn’t his two years with the Cubs.

“I think you enjoy working with your teammates and coaches, and there are some people who don’t make it a lot of fun,” he continued. “Winning is the ultimate fun, but to be with people who appreciate the environment that we come to do every single day is a bonus.

“It’s important for someone wanting to turn the page on a tough loss, especially in my seat, to move on.”

Happ talked about the Wrigley Field vendors he remembered when fans were allowed back in 2021 after the pandemic slowed, and the fans who “have been here 30-40 years, and every At the game they are excited to tell you ‘good game’ or ‘get them tomorrow.” He recently met up with a bunch of leftfield bleacher bums for a group photo.

“This place has a certain feel and aura to it, and it’s made by these people,” Heap said.

Saying goodbye to Wrigley Field is never easy. In the summer of 1981, starter Rick Reichel was upset when he was traded from the last-place Cubs to the first-place Yankees. , he found it difficult to process the news.

Two days later, Trout held a news conference on the front lawn of his mother’s home in South Holland and told reporters: “It happened so suddenly that my emotions were at a level where I couldn’t talk about it. It just happened, and sometimes that’s the nature of ‘show business.” Basically, it was difficult for me.

Baseball is still show business, and everyone knows the old maxim: “The show must go on.”

Some of the departing children will miss the place, while others will thrive in their new homes. It’s all part of the game.

But in the end Cubs fans still have Wrigley Field, a ballpark that’s more indispensable than ever.