When you do something that pretty much no one has ever been alive to witness, it’s kind of a big deal. That was the case last Friday for the Chicago Cubs, whose World Series victory parade was the seventh-largest gathering in human history.
“It’s been crazy,” Kyle Schwarber said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The parade, the team party, doing all the media stuff – it’s been a lot of fun. The people around Chicago deserve it. They went through so much and they’ve been there with our ups and downs, always supporting us, and for them to come out and be able to celebrate it with us, it was just phenomenal. . . . As players, we knew what was at stake with the fans, and we knew what they’ve been through. For us just to be able to do it this year and bring it home for these guys, it was great.”
Schwarber, who tore his ACL and LCL in April, missed essentially the entire regular season but returned for the World Series. He hit .412 with a .500 OBP – despite not being cleared to play defense.
Based on that alone, you’d think Schwarber would have been scared to re-injure his knee in the batter’s box or while running the bases. Nope.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I was throwing it all out there on the line for my teammates. I knew the risks of everything that could have happened. This was something special, and I really wanted to be a part of it for my teammates. Just throwing it all out there on the line for these teammates, it was well worth it.”
The Cubs overcame a 3-1 series deficit and won Games 6 and 7 in Cleveland. There was a brief rain delay before the 10th inning of Game 7, during which Jason Heyward gave his teammates an impassioned speech.
Nevermind that Heyward hit .104 with 13 strikeouts in the postseason.
“One thing about Jason Heyward is he’s a fox-hole guy,” Schwarber said. “He’s a guy that I want in my fox hole if I’m in a fight or whatever. That guy is one of the best teammates. He grinds it out every day. People don’t get to see what kind of work this guy does and what kind of person he is. He’s just one of the best dudes out there. For him to really speak up and get the team going, it was great.”
Only 23, Schwarber has already secured a spot in Chicago-sports lore. Frankly, though, Schwarber is just happy to still be a Cub. There were rumors that the Yankees went after him hard before the trade deadline.
“Rumors are rumors until something actually happens,” Schwarber said. “I’m not going to lie when I say there’s a little demon in the back of your head, saying, ‘Am I really going to get traded? I really hope not.’ This is an organization that you want to be in right now, this is the place that you want to be, and I can’t ask for a better organization to be in.”
Schwarber let listeners know what it’s like to play for the Cubs,
“It’s so much fun to go to the ball park every day,” he said. “You know that somehow you’re going to laugh hysterically. It’s just a bunch of dudes who love each other, love baseball, grinding for the same thing, man. It’s just a lot of fun. It definitely helps when you have Joe Maddon as your manager, when he’s always keeping everything super loose, making sure that we’re feeling good – our bodies, everything. The clubhouse is definitely an extension of your own family.”
Or, given the youth of the team, a frat house, right?
“Yeah,” Schwarber said, responding to Brandon Tierney’s hypothetical. “That too.”