Love Letters From Pronk is an ongoing series where Pronk shares his love for somebody connected to the Cubs. Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, Pronk likes to make 100% sure people know that they are loved, and best expresses that through gushing letters.
Today my target is Jason Heyward, longtime right fielder for the Cubs. Jason is one of those guys that shows up day in and day out. He doesn't have a big flashy persona like other more popular players, but he's a quiet workhorse whose contributions really add up once you start to put him under the magnifying glass. He's under-appreciated, which makes him an ideal candidate for an awesome love letter of appreciation.
I really appreciate all the things you've been for the Cubs and the City of Chicago in your time here. You are a great model of quiet, consistent effort. That type of personality usually flies under the radar, and is ignored by the mainstream media. But I am on you! All of those quiet little things you do contribute immensely.
One of the most admirable things about you is your quiet and consistent effort that you put in to everything you do. A lot of guys level off after signing a big contract, and just remain bad. They are getting paid, so why bother trying to improve? Not you. Yes, your 2016 might have been a mess. But you haven't stopped trying, and your OPS has improved every single year (.631, .715, .731, .772). It's not the typical rebound story that gets a lot of acclaim in the papers. It's a testament to your effort level. Clearly you haven't stopped trying to improve, and it's taken you a long way. There have been many times you've been dinged up, yet played through it. I won't forget the time you ripped up your hand in SF, and kept trying to go, despite it.
Most of your contributions have been with the glove. I am guilty of taken it for granted. After years of great plays, I just expect that you'll catch everything out there. You can fill up a half hour video with your highlights alone. Defense takes consistency and practice to maintain. It's yet another area where you've clearly maintained a high effort level.
Then there's the famous locker room speech. Never mind the fact that you had a rough 2016. When it was time to say a few words to encourage your brothers, you had the words to say. A couple of the guys started tearing up, and then went out and won that ballgame. And well, it worked! Players often say titles are won when no one is watching, through the work they put in off the field and in the weight room. Never had that been more true.
You've always been extremely charitable. Recently there was a pair of big donations to MASK and the Greater Chicago Food Depository:
You've also done a ton of work for charity, making regular appearances at all of your teammates charity fundraisers. You've appeared at campaigns against breast cancer. Again, quietly consistent.
Jason, you might not be the big personality like Rizzo, or flashy like Baez, or a total stud with the bat like Bryant. You are a solid pillar of success that contributes to the team. You are reliable, and can be counted on to be there when needed. You make the most of your opportunities, even if it is something that flies under the radar. You don't do it for your own glory, but for the good of the team. Every team and community would be better with you in it.