AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File
The Chicago Cubs acquired hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the Yankees on Monday.
Tuesday's Chicago sports headlines
remind me of a story I heard years ago back in the dorm: the story of the man in the black leather.
A rancher riding his range came to a frightful sight. His fence had been cut through, and beyond it his herd of cattle lay butchered in the pasture.
His foreman sat on the ground with his head in his hands, moaning.
"I saw him ride off," said the foreman. "It was the man in the black leather."
The rancher remounted. On the horizon he saw pitch-black smoke spiraling to the sky. He galloped in that direction, and over a rise confronted a horrific tableau—his house in ashes, and out front his fair daughter lying prostrate in the grass.
He approached. She was caked with blood.
"Daddy, daddy," she moaned. "It was the man in the black leather."
He stormed inside the charred ruins of his home and kicked aside the glowing furniture. At last he found her—his wife, mangled and dying, at the foot of the little table where she embroidered.
"Who did this?!" he cried, and his wife looked up beseechingly. "It was the man in the black leather," she gasped, and she expired.
The rancher stood. He wrung any drop of mercy from his heart. Mounting his horse he rode into town, and when he swung open the barroom door he saw him at once—sitting alone at the bar and throwing down a drink.
The rancher approached and clutched his quarry's shoulder.
"You!" he cried. "Are you the man who slashed my fence and butchered my cattle and set fire to my home and ravaged my daughter and murdered my wife?"
The man in the black leather stood.
"That's right. I am," he said.
"Well . . . ," said the rancher. "Let's watch that shit!"
The Cubs have traded for relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has a 105-mph fastball. In an incident last October, he allegedly argued with his girlfriend, fired eight shots, pushed her against a wall, choked her, and caused her to hide in the bushes until a dozen or more police officers arrived. No charges were filed because their stories conflicted, but Chapman was suspended by Major League Baseball for the first month of this season.
The important thing, says Cubs president Theo Epstein, was "to make sure we preserved our integrity." Chairman Tom Ricketts further explains: "I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations."
In no uncertain terms they told Chapman, Let's watch that shit!