Former Cub Greenberg gets second chance after career cut tragically short
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org September 27, 2012 9:52AM
Updated: September 27, 2012 7:59PM
Leave it to Team Dysfunction 2012 to cap off a week of chaos during a meltdown season with a publicity stunt that not even the Cubs would touch.
The Miami Marlins announced Thursday their decision to become the official laughingstock of major league baseball by caving in to filmmaker/Cub fan Matt Liston’s incessant marketing campaign to get one-time Cub Adam Greenberg another day in the big leagues.
You remember Greenberg, the marginal Cubs prospect whose only big-league plate appearance, in 2005, lasted just long enough for Marlins reliever Valerio de los Santos’ first pitch to hit him in the back of the head?
It was a frightening moment with a heartbreak outcome as the well-liked kid struggled with post-concussion syndrome and eventually failed in efforts with the Cubs and three other organizations to return to the majors.
But a made-for-TV, make-believe call-up to the big leagues at 31 on a one-day contract and the assurance of his elusive at-bat next Tuesday isn’t a feel-good, storybook ending as much as it’s a farce.
``This was never a gimmick,’’ Greenberg said Thursday.
No, it was a much bigger, slicker, more crassly engineered snookering of any team or fan foolish enough to fall for it. It’s baseball’s biggest publicity stunt since Bill Veeck signed midget Eddie Gaedel in the ‘50s - or at least since the Cubs trotted out Kerry Wood and his new deal during opening ceremonies of Cubs Convention in January.
``This is going way beyond just one at-bat, and beyond sports,’’ said Greenberg, who says the agreement with the Marlins brought him to tears. ``I got to the major leagues on my own merit, and I earned that spot seven years ago. So the fact this is not my first at-bat, that’s important. It’s just not `Poor kid, let’s give him a shot.’ ‘’
Whatever it is, the Cubs should feel fortunate their noodle-mongering marketing department didn’t bring this circus to Wrigley Field.
``It’s obviously not a fit for us,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ``But I wish him the best.’’