When Carlos Marmol, Alfonso Soriano and a few other Cubs regulars got to camp in Arizona last week, there was a unique surprise waiting for them – bullseyes on the backs of their jerseys.
“It’s not personal. It’s a motivational tool for spring training,” said new Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “The new ‘Cubs way’ is to let you know that you have T-minus 35 days to stop sucking.”
With all the players brought in via trades and numerous career minor leaguers vying for spots on the rebuilding club, the team could have easily found itself handing out triple digit uniform numbers for preseason games. The organization feels that this unique solution will smooth-out the rebuilding process by making some tough decisions for them.
Numbers will now be viewed as a privilege. Veterans will have to outplay the kids to earn them back when and if youngsters are sent down to the minors. The MLB players union has contacted the Cubs to make sure any departing veterans at least retain their sizable contracts and the names on the backs of the jerseys.
“I get it. We’re all professionals here. But I don’t like the way Welington Castillo has been looking at me,” said catcher Geovany Soto. “And then he tells me out of nowhere that he renewed his hunting license last week. It’s getting a little tense.”
So far the new design has lead to no major incidents.
“A few fans have been flinging nachos,” said Sveum. “But cheese stains are barely perceptible.”