They booed Miggy.
A surprise? Really, it could’ve gone either way.
Former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero — he of the grand slam in last year’s National League Championship Series and the winning RBI in Game 7 of the World Series — was in the Blue Jays’ lineup Friday as the Cubs won 7-4 in the opener of a three-game weekend set.
And the Wrigley faithful booed him the first few times he came up to bat. By Montero’s fourth plate appearance, it was just a light smattering. But still: Ouch.
Of course, fans were remembering the circumstances surrounding Montero’s controversial exit from the North Side in June. The catcher publicly criticized pitcher Jake Arrieta — who was on the mound Friday and notched his 13th victory — after an ugly defeat in which the Nationals stole seven bases on the first four innings.
“The pitcher doesn’t give me any time,” Montero said then.
The pitcher extended a martini branch — sorry, meant to say an olive branch — to Montero when he came up for his second at-bat against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
“I asked him if he wanted to grab a drink tonight,” Arrieta said, “so we might do that. He’s one of my favorite guys. It’s a little upsetting to see the way it ended for him here, but it is what it is.”
The Cubs designated Montero for assignment after that Nationals game and traded him to the Blue Jays last month for the proverbial bag of baseballs.
“It wasn’t the nicest way to go to leave Chicago,” Montero told CSN Chicago’s Kelly Crull before Friday’s game. “It’s in the past. It was tough and difficult. It was hard.”
Montero, who said he has apologized to Arrieta, greeted Arrieta with a few words at home plate before the pitcher’s first at-bat.
“I honestly wish I would’ve have left,” he said, “[but] I don’t regret anything. It happened. I feel bad for Jake, and that’s why I apologized to him.”
Blue Jays fans arrived — in huge numbers — by car, plane and who knows how else to check out Wrigley Field and the defending World Series champion Cubs. An employee in the Cubs’ ticket office estimated that 10,000 Jays fans were in attendance Friday. It was quite a change of pace, given it’s typically Cubs fans who take over opposing ballparks.
“The Canadians traveled well today,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I love their city. It’s a great spot up there.”
Put a ring on it?
Former Cub Chris Coghlan was supposed to finally get his World Series ring with the Jays, his new team, came through Wrigley, but he was designated for assignment last weekend and released unconditionally on Tuesday.
“Disappointing,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said, “because we were looking forward to seeing him and he was looking forward to being here.”
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