Chicago Cubs: Babe the blue ox, or Paul Bunyan?
Kyle Schwarber isn’t just enamored by fans in Chicago; he’s practically a folk hero. After his heroics (and the Hollywood-esque way they went down) in the 2016 World Series, the naturally affable and endearing Schwarber was basically given the keys to the city.
There are a lot of fans out there who have an emotional attachment to the big (or not quite as big as he used to be) guy. He’s likable. He gives back to the community. He helped bring the city a championship – something they’d coveted for over a century.
Whether it’s rational or logical, many fans have had a desire to plug Schwarber into the lineup regardless of the circumstances. The fact that it seems Theo Epstein has consistently felt the same way and publicly gushed about the guy nicknamed “Babe Ruth” or “Hulk” just serves to verify his importance and potential to the fanbase.
Everything worked out on Opening Day. The Cubs won. Schwarber got to play and actually got three at-bats, while Zagunis only got two as the starter. While fans may have been happy with the outcome in the end, it’s perfectly understandable to see where some are coming from in regards to Schwarber not being in the Opening Day starting lineup.
It’s not about the outcome so much as the philosophy itself, because, while we won that game, maybe there’s a game we don’t win because Schwarber is sacrificing at-bats to a lesser player. And, as we found out last season, one game does make a difference and is important come October.
Schwarber won’t ever show it or be that guy, but it has to affect you not being in the lineup when you think you should be playing and know your capabilities when given appropriate opportunities. He knows, Joe Maddon knows and Theo Epstein knows. Time to let him be the guy we all know he has the potential be. Unleash the beast – we like when Hulk hit home runs.