Essex column: Fight domestic violence; turn Chapman’s bad to good |

Essex column: Fight domestic violence; turn Chapman’s bad to good

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws Sunday during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series.
Associated Press

As a Chicago Cubs fan, this has been quite an October. I’ve never had such a rooting interest in baseball so late in the year, even when I lived in Detroit and the Tigers made the World Series (but lost before Halloween).

And the Cubs making it to the World Series, with their history of heartbreak, is just qualitatively different.

An inveterate baseball fan, I’ve followed this team closely. Sensing this could be a special year, I caught Opening Night in Anaheim with my son, on whom I inflicted the unique agony of Cubfandom as he grew up in Des Moines, home of the Triple A Iowa Cubs. I trekked over to Denver for a game in August and watched at least part of nearly every game of the magical season on the MLB At Bat app.

Like any contending team, the Cubs made a move at trade deadline to shore up their weakness, which was the bullpen. They added closer Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban defector I watched during my two years in Cincinnati, who throws the ball harder than any other human being of whom we are aware.

Unfortunately, Chapman is far short of a role model. Traded by the Reds to the Yankees, he had to sit out the beginning of this season because he violated baseball’s domestic abuse policy. He allegedly smashed a window of a car and fired a gun in October 2015 during a fight with his girlfriend. He admitted using the gun but has not acknowledged accusations that he choked the woman.

As comforting as it is to have Chapman coming in to throw 103 mph to protect a lead, his violent behavior and failure to fully own up to it are equally disconcerting.

A Chicago woman who’s a big Cub fan found a way to turn his shortcomings into good.

Caitlin Swieca started a movement that gained ground via Twitter to donate $10 for every Chapman save to fight domestic violence.

I’ll be giving $10 for each of his 16 regular season saves and $20 for postseason saves to Advocate Safehouse here in Glenwood.

If you are a Cub fan or jumped on the bandwagon this year, I encourage you to join me.

You can donate to Advocate Safehouse online at, by calling 970-945-2632 or by mail to the Advocate Safehouse Project, P.O. Box 2036, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602.

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