Chicago Cubs manager David Ross pulled Kyle Schwarber from Sunday night’s game due to a poor defensive play in left field.
Back in 2007, in his first year as Chicago Cubs manager, Lou Piniella became so frustrated with his team’s disappointing play that he went onto the field and threw a tirade in a memorable game against the Atlanta Braves. Almost immediately after this episode, the team turned it around and ended up winning the division not only that year but the next year as well.
The circumstances were much different from what we witnessed on Sunday night at Wrigley Field, in the Cubs’ 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Yet it’s possible that current manager David Ross had one of those moments when he became so frustrated with the way his team was playing that he made a move that stunned a lot of observers to try to turn things around.
For those who missed it, Ross pulled left fielder Kyle Schwarber from the game after he misplayed a ball hit by the Twins’ Jake Cave in the second inning. The ball hit off the wall, and Schwarber’s miscue allowed Cave to reach third base. Even ESPN’s commentators were shocked that a ball hit to left field at Wrigley could turn into a triple. It didn’t appear that Schwarber wasn’t hustling, but Ross still decided to remove Schwarber in favor of Cameron Maybin.
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Like Piniella’s tirade, it’s possible that this move was about more than just the one play. This is pure speculation, but Ross may have felt he had to do something bold to get his team’s attention. Though the Cubs are playoff-bound, barring a monumental collapse in the final week, the offense has been atrocious lately, and perhaps he didn’t feel like his team was giving their best effort as a whole. Schwarber happens to be among those who have struggled at the plate.
If indeed this was Ross’s motivation, it may put at ease the minds of those who thought that Ross would be a carbon copy of former Cubs skipper Joe Maddon. Maddon, for example, would have his team dress up in various outfits to try to keep their spirits up. And there was that time that he brought animals in from a local zoo to try to get players to relax.
Not so with Ross. The message that all Cubs players got last night was that anything less than 100% isn’t acceptable, and if you don’t play the game the right way, there will be consequences.
Many fans are concerned about this team, especially their hitting, as we are a week away from the beginning of the playoffs. Perhaps this was a move that was needed to try to get things back on track. Hopefully, we’ll see some results on the field soon.