Cubs have a leader


As Cubs fans, we spent the entire winter hearing about the acquisition of Brian Roberts. As spring rolled around, we heard that the Cubs were going to acquire a backup centerfielder, be it Coco Crisp, Marlon Bryd, or Jay Payton. As spring training ended, the addition turned out to be free (well, trade-wise, it was free) in the person of Reed Johnson. Johnson seemed to fit all the Cubs needs...a left-hander, a guy who could play all three outfield positions, a guy with a little speed. But, his biggest addition may be something intangible. Leadership.

I noticed the other day Reed Johnson always seemed to be in camera whenever they panned the dugout. He was usually in the middle of whatever was going on. Tonight, he epitomized what a leader should be. First, the DeRo situation. I was watching the local broadcast, so I don't know how mush the ESPN cameras caught it, but after DeRo was rung up on a check swing that the home plate ump called without asking for help, he was pissed. He went back to the dugout fuming. He started bitching to the other guys. ARam, Hank White, and ReJo were teasing him about it. ARam was dying of laughter. It relaxed DeRo. At the end of it, ReJo went up and put a quick arm around DeRo, patting him on the back. Later, in that all-important ninth inning, ReJo was in the middle of it again. This time, he provided relaxation to the entire dugout. With the Cubs holding on to a one run lead, two on, nobody out, Fuku smashed a pitch that hit the top of the Cub's dugout fence and bounced into the stands. The entire team cleared out of the area, except for ReJo, who was laying across the dugout seats, laughing his ass off. The closest guy to him was Fontenot. I don't know what he said, but I'm pretty sure he made a crack about Fontenot not having to duck.

I love it. This is the kind of guy the Cubs need. He adds that leadership a team needs; a guy who can lift a player or the whole team, a guy who can break the ice when things are tense. Kenny Lofton added that in '03 and look where the Cubs ended up. Matt Stairs was the guy in '01...it didn't get the Cubs into the playoffs, but it took a 65 win from '00 into a 88 win team that was in contention for most of the year.

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