The Legend of Kyle Schwarber may have been etched when he fought his way back from a catastrophic knee injury, and helped the Cubs win the World Series. But as impressive as that climb back was …– the secret batting practice sessions, the detour through the Arizona Fall League, the 1,300 pitches he TRACKED in the batting cage — with just his eyes — all to come back in the World Series… hitting frozen ropes on his knee that was still so jacked up he couldn’t play in the field…, but Schwarber — the heart of the Cubs – has done something WAY MORE IMPRESSIVE over the last three games: He went DOUBLE GOLDEN SOMBRERO.
That’s right. 8 straight Ks. Whiff after Whiff after Whiff after Whiff after Whiff after Whiff after Whiff after Whiff.
A punch-out streak that started on a Saturday and didn’t end until Monday — that spanned 3 games and 1,500 miles … Schwarber kept things rolling with a K in his first at-bat against the Reds and looked locked and loaded for #9 — the count full… Until a BEAN BALL let him off the hook. Hell yes, he was WILLING to wear one in that situation. Hell, he was probably LOOKING to wear it.
Look, I know some people want to talk about Schwarber slaying the dragon and going deep against the Diamondbacks over the weekend in his first time back to Chase Field since shredding his knee there last spring. Heartwarming story? Sure. But ANYBODY can hit a home run. Striking out 8 times in a row? Try running that streak down.
If you want to know where this Cubs season went wrong, just look at Schwarber’s season. The guy went from the cover of Sports Illustrated — the heart of Theo’s Cubs — to the heart of the line-up in Triple A Des Moines before mid-summer. And after two weeks on the farm trying to work out the kinks, Schwarber has actually improved — but it’s mid-August and a guy that the Cubs thought would be among the best bats in the National League is still below the Mendoza Line — the 3-game run featuring 8-straight Ks actually did ZERO damage to his BUCK-NINETY-THREE batting average.
So while I know the Cubs aren’t out of it — hell, they’re never going to be out of it as long as they’ve got the talent that they do and are playing in the NC Central — at what point do you wonder if Schwarber’s heroic return for the Fall Classic did more harm than good? Sure, he helped killed the curse of the Billy Goat, he brought home a world series to the North Side and let all those aging hipsters in retro Cubs jerseys two sizes too small cry and hug on the streets of Wrigleyville. But he also might have put a permanent hole in a bat that was supposed to be an anchor in the Cubbies lineup for years to come. He’s struck out in almost 40% of his at-bats since being called up — that’s even worse than what it was before he got sent to the minors.
But enough about that. Because we just witnessed baseball gold. Scratch that — Double Gold. Because Schwarber might do a lot of magical things in his baseball career. But it’ll never be as magic as the Eight-Straight-Punchouts. So take a bow, Kyle Schwarber. And then take a seat and let somebody who can actually get wood on a ball get an at-bat.