CHICAGO (AP) — Ryan Theriot, the starting shortstop on two division winners with the Chicago Cubs, returned to Wrigley Field with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday and stood by earlier comments that he was now on the “right side” of the rivalry.
Theriot made those comments initially in December after being traded to the Cardinals from the Dodgers, who’d acquired him from the Cubs last season at the trading deadline.
When he led off the game Tuesday night, Theriot was greeted by a loud chorus of boos, although there were some cheers, as well.
Theriot said the fallout from his comments has been blown out of proportion. Some of his ex-teammates expressed anger at Theriot’s remarks during Chicago’s winter convention in January, including catcher Koyie Hill who said Theriot might get a feel for the dirt around home plate.
Theriot said he spoke to Hill right after that and everything was fine.
“I think it’s the stupidest thing in the world,” Theriot said of the furor his comments have created in Chicago.
He explained it like this: “I was a Cubbie and now I’m a Cardinal. What do you want me to say?
“It’s kinda one of those things. I mean I guess there’s no real right or wrong answer. But, yeah, now that I’m a Cardinal, I still stand by what I said. You have to. It’s the right side of the rivalry for me now. … You can’t say you wish you were on the other side. That’s not right.”
Theriot, who called his years with the Cubs organization a “wonderful time of my life,” said the passion of the fans in the two cities is very similar.
But asked the difference between the two organizations, he pointed to facilities at Busch Stadium and Wrigley Field.
“Probably the most glaring difference is just the amenities. There is just no room here to do anything,” Theriot said.
“It puts the team in a tough spot because there is really no space you know to add cages or add different parts of the clubhouse. … This place is historic and you want to keep it just like it is because it’s such an awesome stadium. But you know in St. Louis there is just much more space.”
The Cubs won the NL Central in 2007 and 2008 before being swept in the first round at the end of both seasons. They haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
Theriot was asked his theories on the long championship drought.
“There’s been a lot of success here in the recent years in Chicago, some good teams, yeah, man it’s tough,” he said. “You hear people talk about the day games. Obviously the stadium itself really challenges a player to be prepared. But I don’t know, I wish I had an answer. We could write it down and everybody would know. But it’s tough to pinpoint.”
Theriot, who started 2010 as Chicago’s shortstop before moving to second when young star Starlin Castro was called up, had nothing but praise for his successor.
“Starlin is an unbelievable talent and a great player. They have a great shortstop, no doubt about that,” he said. “That dude is good.”
Copyright Associated Press