Whether it's through comic books or movies, many people embrace superheroes as a means of escape from the tedium and misfortune of their regular lives. The Chicago Cubs are apparently no different.
After suffering a 7-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, several Cubs players—and manager Dale Sveum—donned superhero garb for the team's trip to Pittsburgh. Fortunately for us, several of the beat reporters covering the Cubs were on hand with cameras as these garishly costumed figures left the visitors clubhouse.
Who were these masked men? Personally, I can't identify most of the players who suited up after the game. But isn't that the point of a superhero donning a mask and costume, to protect his secret identity?
The Cubs were outscored 23-1 in their three-game series with the Cardinals. Such an embarrassing beatdown had some—like the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer—questioning the wisdom of playing dress-up. Some players like Alfonso Soriano said they preferred not to do it, but played along in the interests of team spirit.
(Was it really in bad taste for a couple of players to dress up as Batman, in light of the Colorado theater shootings? Personally, I think that's a sanctimonious stretch by Wittenmyer.)
However, some fans and reporters like to see a team take losses hard, thinking it shows they care more. Dressing up as superheroes doesn't fit that sentiment. But such exercises may also be the only way a team can cope through a losing season that will probably only get worse as some of its best players are set to be traded away.
When the manager joins in the fun and dresses up like Hellboy, it seems more difficult to get worked up about a baseball team engaging in frivolity after getting smeared all over the field against its fierce rivals. Sveum might want to save Hellboy's right glove—the Right Hand of Doom—to enforce some discipline in the future.
As pointed out by the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, the Cubs have some bad history with team dress-ups. But this clearly had the approval of management.
The superhero costume party was the scheme of Matt Garza, who came up with the idea after seeing The Avengers with his son. The idea of dressing up for a road trip was apparently proposed during spring training.
If there's any fallout from this—and if there is, it would be silly—at least Garza may not have to deal with it long. He might not be a member of the Cubs a week from now, unless the elbow cramps Garza experienced on Saturday are an indicator of a serious injury.
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