Adam Greenberg will not get his desired one at-bat as a member of the Chicago Cubs. As Paul Sullivan reports in the Trib, if he bats anywhere in the majors, it will have to be with a team that is not the Cubs.
Jed Hoyer made it pretty clear he was not interested:
“Adam made the big leagues based on merit in 2005,” Hoyer said in an e-mail. “While it is unfortunate he got hit in his first at bat, he is in the Baseball Encyclopedia as a major leaguer and he should be incredibly proud of that. We wish him the best, but there are no plans to add him to the roster now or in the future.”
I have no real opinion on this. I wasn't for it because I'm not sure what it would accomplish. As Jed said, he made it to the majors based on his talents. He just didn't stay very long. That's a very large club. He tried to get back to the majors again after recovering from his concussion, but he never made it back. Is that a tragedy? Maybe a personal one, but he's one of hundreds of thousands of guys who have failed to reach a major league roster and stick. Should we assume that if he had never been hit with that ball that he would have somehow had a long and prosperous career? Anything is possible, but the reality was that he was a guy with some on-base skills who wasn't very fast and didn't have much power and he played the outfield. Those guys don't last long in the majors even if they are exceptional at defense, and as far as I can tell, he was average to below average in that department. I can say with 99.9% certainty that Adam Greenberg was not robbed of a flourishing major league career by the ball to the head. So what is one more at-bat going to prove? That he can strike out or ground out weakly? What if he gets a hit? What does that prove?
On the other hand, what harm would it be? I would gladly give Joe Mather's spot on the 40-man roster to Adam Greenberg, if for no other reason than to prevent Mather from ever batting as a Cub again. The Cubs are going to lose 100 games with or without Adam Greenberg, so there is literally nothing to lose by adding him to the roster for a day. Maybe he gets a hit and the fans can cheer and the phone lines at WGN can light up with callers talking about how they hope Greenberg can replace Soriano once they manage to trade his worthless hide for a bag of balls in 2013. Maybe he strikes out and slinks back into the footnotes of baseball history. Anything is possible. Might as well see what happens and give the guy a thrill.
So I can see both sides, but I'm pretty glad the Cubs have declined. Again, not because I want to see him get denied, but because this is the sort of shit the Cubs have absolutely lived for in the past. You can't tell me that the 1997 death march with John McDonough in charge wouldn't have jumped all over this petition. McDonough would have had Greeny the Iceberg Beanie Baby Day set aside where Adam would throw out the first pitch, lead off the game, and then go up to the booth to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame even though Harry Caray hadn't actually died yet. In 2006, Crane Kenney would have blown up his old batting helmet in a pre-game ceremony and then brought Adam out and had an Orthodox Priest bless his head while he took his practice swings in the on-deck circle before the at-bat. The Cubs front office has not been historically known for resisting the urge to be shameless cash whores.
But Jed and Theo passed.
Like I said, there really is no reason why the Cubs couldn't do this. They could probably add Adam Greenberg, Rahm Emanuel, the entire cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey and my cat, Schultz, without any real damage being done to the long-term viability of the Cubs' current 40-man roster. So why wouldn't they do it? Because it would be a stunt and that's all it would be.
If it wasn't a stunt, Greenberg wouldn't need a petition to get on a roster, he would be earning his way on the way everybody else does. Maybe this is the Cubs saying that they are now above that nonsense. Sure they could do it, but if they aren't making a move that makes the organization better, then they aren't going to do it and to hell with the five minutes of goodwill that would come their way for giving Greenberg a personal goal.
The Cubs have said that they aren't going to make PR roster moves, but there they were signing Kerry Wood at the last minute before the Cubs Convention for no reason this past January. As much as Jed and Theo talked a good game, you got the idea that there would still be that element of Cubness that would always be there. Like when you get a hotel room that used to be a smoking room 10 years ago. In theory, nobody has smoked a cigarette in that room in 10 years, but try telling your nose that. The smoke is there and it never really goes away. But I'll be damned if the Cubs didn't just Febreeze the living shit out of their room today by politely declining to cave into this public relations petition.
You know the Yankees would never stoop to something like this. They're too busy winning things to bother with token at-bats and popularity contests on their 40-man roster. That's part of the reason why they win things and I'm glad the Cubs are at least taking a step in that direction instead of just saying they are going to focus on winning and then doing the same stupid crap over and over.
So good luck, Adam. I hope you find what you're looking to accomplish with your crusade to take a next step in your career. As for me, I'm pretty happy that the Cubs may have taken a step that I thought was just as unlikely.