Was Marquis the worst of the starting 5 the Cubs rolled out last year? Definitely. Do I subscribe to the Al Yellon view that you can't say Marquis was bad because he was good compared to other "5th starters" as though rotation spots were a government pay grade and set in stone? Not at all. Do I enjoy the style of writing in which one does nothing but answer his own questions? You bet. But was Jason Marquis a truly "bad" player? I would have to disagree.
Consider certain players who have returned to Wrigley and been booed. LaTroy Hawkins is one of the first that comes to mind for me, given that he not only sucked in the most crucial of positions for Cub fans, but his absurd "you can't do what I do" defense and his playing of the race card merited a fairly unpleasant welcome. Had Todd Hundley ever returned I'm sure he would have been stoned, though I suppose the treatment he received throughout much of his tenure as a Cub was deserved, mostly because he was an asshat who flipped off the fans and was more or less a disgrace to his father's legacy. Dusty Baker was booed at just about Reds-Cubs game last year, and given the back alley abortion he performed on this team and his constant refusal to accept any of the blame even after two years away from the situation pretty much leads us to despise him. But Marquis?
Sure, there was his complaint early last spring that he should be starting. Lou got pissed that Jason seemed to think he had earned the right to start, but it didn't affect his decision to run Jason out there every fifth day. I can't say that I wouldn't have felt the same way in Jason's position. I may not have said it publicly as he did, but I too would have felt that I deserved to start over Jon Lieber's corpse.
In the end it was Jason's role to end up being the focal point for rage on a 97 win team. For much of the regular season there really wasn't that much to be that pissed about, unless you frequent this place. I'm not going to lie, I frequently advocated starting Sean Marshall over Marquis. But I never hated the guy. If you take a look at his numbers
2008:29 G, 28 GS, 11-9, 4.53 ERA, 167.0 IP, 1.45 WHIP
2007: 34 G, 33 GS, 12-9, 4.60 ERA, 191.2 IP, 1.39 WHIP
Nothing truly God Awful stands out, especially when compared to some of the other more memorable "5th starters" in Cubs history:
Shawn Estes, 2003: 29 G, 28 GS, 8-11, 5.73 ERA, 152.1 IP, 1.74 WHIP
Jason Bere, 2002: 16 G, 16 GS, 1-10, 5.67 ERA, 85.2 IP, 1.47 WHIP
Ruben Quevedo, 2000: 21 G, 15 GS, 3-10, 7.47 ERA, 88.0 IP, 1.705 WHIP
Terry Mulholland, 1999: 26 G, 16 GS, 6-6, 5.15 ERA, 110.0 IP, 1.536 WHIP
G(J)eremi Gonzalez, 1998: 20 G, 20 GS, 7-7, 5.32 ERA, 110.0 IP, 1.500 WHIP
So really it becomes obvious from looking at numbers like those that Marquis was somewhere far short of horrendous, and that his greatest misfortune was playing for a really f*&king good team. What a shame. Seriously, my fellow Cub fans, grow up and boo for an ex-Cub that deserves it. Jason has to pitch in Colorado. He is serving his time. You need not boo him any more.
However, for the Cubs sake, and Jason's I do hope they light him up tomorrow. Certainly there's a precedent for Cubs "fifth starters" who return as members of the Colorado Rockies. I know watching the Cubs destroy him alleviated most of my rage toward Estes. Maybe a Marquis flop against the Cubs will soothe the undeserved hate aimed at him by the masses.
(Update: Way to go Jason. I offered you sage advice, telling you that if you'd only let the Cubs bend you over the table for about 9 runs, the fans would love you. But noooooo... Thanks alot, Asshole.)