December 21, 2007
BY GORDON WITTENMYER [email protected]
The Cubs still appear to have interest in a possible trade for Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, despite his admission after being named in the Mitchell Report last week that he tried steroids in 2003.
And the two-time All-Star sounded like the interest was mutual Thursday night during an interview on the Cubs' flagship radio station. He also suggested that admitting he ''made a mistake'' with what he said was a one-time use of steroids does not exclude him from role-model status.
''I understand that I am a professional athlete. I understand that I have this role,'' Roberts said during an interview with David Kaplan on WGN-AM (720). ''But I am human. ... So even though a kid may look at me, it's not necessarily the worst thing in the world for them to see that you're human because they're going to make mistakes, too, and if they beat themselves up over those mistakes ... thinking that we're perfect, then that's not true and that's not right.
''I tried to handle it, hopefully, in a way that kids will say that, 'Well, when I make a mistake, I have to be man enough to own up to it and ask for forgiveness and say that I was wrong.'''
Cubs officials suggested this week that if a player in which they had interest was named in the Mitchell Report, that would not necessarily prevent them from pursuing the player.
''We would evaluate players in a case-by-case situation,'' general manager Jim Hendry said.
The Cubs talked with the Orioles -- now run by former Cubs president Andy MacPhail -- earlier this month about a possible trade for Roberts, but those talks were tabled as the Cubs closed in on free agent Kosuke Fukudome and the Orioles looked to move other big-ticket players.
With Fukudome signed, the Cubs have their must-do task of the winter complete but are still in the market for a trade, Hendry said. The ideal fit is a player such as the switch-hitting Roberts who can run (50 steals last year), hit well from the left side and play in the middle infield.
Roberts, 30, has told those close to him he would welcome a trade to the Cubs. He was more reserved talking about it publicly Thursday, though he seemed to marvel at the Wrigley Field experience, having attended Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS.
''That was one of the most incredible atmospheres and games I've ever watched,'' he said. ''That's the kind of baseball atmosphere that anybody would want to play in.''
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