Starlin Castro did not have a good night. There really is no getting around it. His much anticipated Wrigley Field debut probably couldn't have gone much worse if Starlin had actually been trying to throw the game on purpose.
I have seen some shock and outrage on Twitter and in the Cubs blogosphere but I can't muster much emotion over it. Don't get me wrong, I do not condone the booing of a 20-year old kid who has been hyped as being able to walk on water, but I guess I'm just not surprised.
The stadium is filled with people who paid a lot of money for their tickets on the promises that the new clubhouse chemistry would cure all that was wrong last year and that whatever the chemistry didn't fix, Rudy Jaramillo would. People are feeling suckered.
The Cubs marketing department has spent a lot of time trying to market the Cubs as a winning ballclub in order to justify the tremendous rise in ticket prices over the years. They have to sell the expectations because people who don't expect anything from their team don't fill a ball park day in and day out. You can sit here and talk to me about Wrigley Field and old school baseball and whatnot, but what is truly important when you raise the cost of going to a game into the stratosphere is the winning.
There are tons of options to watch baseball played at an "inferior" level in the Chicagoland area. The Schaumburg Flyers, the Kane County Cougars, the Gary Railcats, and Kevin Costner's new team, the Lake County Fielders are just a few places where one can go and watch baseball being played. The quality of play is supposed to be less than that of watching major league players, but then you sit through a game where an insurance run is scored as a result of a little league trick play double steal that caught your veteran pitcher napping and you start to wonder why you paid $60 for a ticket when you could have had a better seat at one of the other parks for 1/6th of the price.
So Cubs fans boo anybody that is contributing to this feeling of being hornswaggled by the rhetoric at the Cubs Convention, the big It's a Way of Life campaign and anything else that convinced them that the Cubs are worth paying the most money in the majors to watch. Given that a large percentage of the fans in attendance last night were probably only dimly aware of who was even playing shortstop, coupled with the large amounts of alcohol consumed before the 8th inning rolled around, I am not shocked in the slightest that Starlin heard the boos.
The Cubs have built the monster that this fan base has become by feeding it expectations it can't possibly reach and poking it in the ass with a cattle-prod by charging them more than anybody else to be disappointed. There is nothing shocking about what happened last night aside from Aramis actually reaching base once.