I’ve been accused of beating a joke into the ground (Hank White Fan Club, Luis Valbuena: superstar, Al Yellon is awful) oh, wait, not that last one. But when I predicted and continued to predict1 that Kyle Schwarber’s season wasn’t really over when he tore his ACL and LCL in the third game of the season in Arizona, I wasn’t joking. I really thought he’d be back.
Sure, part of it was because the baseball season is so long that Kyle could perform a full 24 week rehab and there would still be games to play. But a big part of it was just because of Kyle. Every time we saw him during the season he was talking about his rehab and he was completely upbeat. He was missing the greatest season in Cubs history, and had he been healthy he’d have been a hug part of it, and he never let on that he was angry or bitter or frustrated. I’m sure at times he was all three. But he just kept working.
The Cubs kept insisting he wasn’t going to be back this year. And yet, they would also show videos of him working out on the video screens during games and they had him do his agility work in the outfield after reporters had arrived.2
But September came and went without a rehab stint for Kyle. He refused to come out and say that he had run out of time, but it really looked like he had run out of time. The playoffs started and there was Kyle, in a hoodie in the dugout cheering the guys on.
Unlike every other Cubs team ever this one didn’t flame out after a single round. And suddenly, in the middle of the Los Angeles part of the NLCS, Kyle disappeared.
Because his doctor had given him the go ahead to do everything baseball wise except play defense. And, as we all know, he never really did that anyway. So Kyle was off to the desert to get some at bats in the Arizona Fall League. You know, the league that is reserved for top prospects and Heisman Trophy winning photo opportunities.
Kyle went to the AFL, because he had convinced the Cubs to LET HIM GET READY FOR A SPOT ON THE WORLD SERIES ROSTER!
What’s more ridiculous, that Kyle could make it back in time for the World Series, or that the Cubs would be in the World Series?
Well, how about both?
Because…it’s happening. Kyle played another AFL game this afternoon, roped a double that had an exit velocity of a cool 110 miles per hour, then hopped on a private plane headed for Cleveland.
He’s going to be on the roster and he’s going to be the designated hitter in game one.
The Cubs are in the World Series and Kyle Schwarber is back! If this isn’t greatest time in the history of the world, I don’t know when that was.
This is not a nice little reward for Kyle’s hard work. This is the Cubs reactivating a real, bona fide, lefthanded, power hitting weapon. He’s on the roster because he can help them.
He’s at no more risk of getting hurt than he was before the injury–that’s what his surgeon maintained when he gave him the go ahead to come back. The only risk is that he’s rusty and he doesn’t hit well. But have you seen the guy who would otherwise be the lefthanded DH?
At best, Kyle makes a really long lineup even longer. At worst, he’s the 25th man. They didn’t even use all 25 players in the NLCS.
It’s been a long time since we saw his simple, yet menacing set up in the batter’s box, and then that lightning quick bat. But we’re going to see it again, starting tomorrow night.
The Cubs have gotten the band back together, and not a moment too soon.
Welcome back, Kyle. We have missed you more than you’ll ever know.