Russell had been publicly accused by his now ex-wife Melisa Reidy of repeated physical and emotional abuse during their marriage, making him one of the most high-profile domestic violence cases that MLB has experienced. The Cubs decided to stick by the shortstop in the offseason as he underwent therapy and anger management training.
Naturally, that led to many Cubs fans believing Russell no longer deserved a spot on their team. It sounded like plenty of those fans were on hand for Russell’s 2019 debut.
Cubs fans boo Addison Russell after domestic violence suspension
Leading off for the Cubs in the third inning, Russell was received by a fairly loud amount of booing from the Wrigley Field faithful.
While there were cheers in support of Russell, most reporters at the game concluded they were outweighed by the boos.
Addison Russell leads off the 3rd inning to a mixed response from the Wrigley Field crowd, but the boos were louder than the cheers.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 9, 2019
Went into the stands and a lot of boos for Russell. Some cheers and clapping, but overwhelmingly negative.
— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) May 9, 2019
Mixture of boos and cheers for Addison Russell from the crowd as he is announced. Sounded like more boos
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 9, 2019
That reaction from Wrigley Field could be a signal that the Cubs might have underestimated the backlash among their fans against Russell, who said before the game that he thought he would receive a positive reaction.
“I’m not sure, I’m really not sure,” Russell said when asked what he was expecting. “Good or bad, I think, in my mind, it’s going to be a positive reaction because of how hard I’ve worked to get here. I’ve realized there’s a long road ahead of me, but I’m happy that I’m here in Chicago.”
Russell had an otherwise nondescript return. He finished 0-for-3 with a walk. The Cubs won the game 3-2 in 11 innings on Jason Heyward’s walk-off home run.
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