So I will be sidelining blog posts for the duration; and however it turns out, it will be historic.
I’m all in for the Cubs as their fans, ballpark, history and current team’s record call me to their side.
Here’s a good story from the Chicago Tribune about one roster addition, a very important addition.
One swing of the bat.
That’s all it takes to change a game – and perhaps a series. Sometimes it doesn’t even require a swing, such as when Ben Zobrist laid down a bunt against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series to start a Cubs rally that ended two games later with a celebration.
Cubs fans never will forget that. And Cubs executives still remember, which is what brought Kyle Schwarber to town Tuesday for Game 1 of the World Series. Schwarber’s presence in the lineup as the designated hitter can change any game and potentially this series. He can alter history. He represents a risk worth taking.
Schwarber will be limited. Nobody doubts that. Barely seven months ago he underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his knee. His recovery falls under the category of remarkable in a day and age professional athletes err on the side of caution when rehabilitating injuries and returning to play. But if doctors cleared him medically, it becomes a baseball issue. And if Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer believe Schwarber can make an impact as the 25th man on the World Series roster, they have earned the benefit of the doubt. They understand how even the specter of a guy who hit five home runs in 27 postseason at-bats can affect the thinking of opposing Indians manager Terry Francona. They get it.
Schwarber made his major-league debut against the Indians on June 16, 2015. What better team for the Middletown, Ohio, native to dramatically return against than the American League champs?
Activating Schwarber qualifies as a bold move, but the Cubs didn’t win their first pennant in 71 years tiptoeing gingerly to the top. This would not be a regime anybody can call risk-averse. Whether trading for controversial closer Aroldis Chapman or reinstating AWOL infielder Tommy La Stella, the Cubs have been consistent letting baseball reasons rule their thinking. Schwarber is just the latest example. Cublike now means creative aggressiveness. This fits the description. You don’t have to agree with every decision to respect that the Cubs have been consistent in the rationale.