Chicago Cubs fans weren’t too fond of right fielder Jason Heyward for awhile, but they’re now cheering him on as he’s leaving.
Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward wasn’t a fan favorite for some time, but he’s becoming one right as he’s leaving. He is now out with an injury, and the hard feelings toward him were out of frustration. As a core member of the 2016 World Series-winning team, the end of his time in Chicago is bittersweet.
Heyward is highly respected by his teammates for his leadership, despite not performing well last season. He’s been on a steady decline the past two seasons, so it was predictable that he’d be released.
He received his farewell from fans at Wrigley Field on Saturday with a standing ovation as he waved goodbye.
Teammate Ian Happ spoke about it and shared that he deserved the high-energy crowd’s reaction.
Cubs outfielder Ian Happ spoke on Jason Heyward’s farewell
Happ, who played in the 2022 All-Star game and was specifically mic’d up for the Field of Dreams game, spoke highly of his teammate.
He told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, “That was an emotional moment, for sure. He deserved to be able to stand there in front of the crowd and get that ovation. He’s meant so much to the organization, being a part of that team that won. And everything that he’s giving back to the fan base, to the city.”
His fall in performance is unfortunate. Over his career, he’s slashed .257/.339/.406 for an OPS of .745 and he dropped quite a bit last season to .214/.280/.347 for an OPS of .627. This season, he hasn’t played since the end of June due to a knee injury.
He also earned several Gold Gloves in his earlier seasons. He was a leader, but the Cubs need to move forward if they want to be stronger contenders.
Despite some unfavorable feelings toward him out of frustration, Heyward’s impact in Chicago was noticeable and he’ll certainly be missed.