Kyle Schwarber Defies Joe Maddon’s Advice, Won’t Start at Wrigley

How high?

So high that I can kiss the sky.

How sick?

So sick that you can…do what Kyle Schwarber yelled at Grandpa Rossy.

Hey, man, that’s not in keeping with what those ubiquitous shirts say. The good news for sensitive lip readers and people who sold parts of both their visceral and ethereal being to sit near the dugout is that they need not fear a reprisal of the callous chorus when Wrigley Field hosts the World Series. That’s because Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the field and won’t be starting over the weekend.

But wait, he can still pinch hit.

Even so, we’re unlikely to get another public solicitation from the former show choir member. David Ross knows better than to poke the War Bear again.

“One hit? That’s all?” the elder statesman goaded his young charge after Tuesday’s loss. “Do something to help the team. Drive in a run or something.”

After striking out in his first at-bat against Trevor Bauer, Schwarber smacked a single to center to drive in his 11th career postseason RBI. Then he turned in the direction of the dugout and told his teammate to do what Method Man and Redman rapped in the original version of the lyrics above. Ross’s reaction?

“I loved every second of it. I almost passed out laughing,” the old man said of being rekt on live television. “I love that guy. He is so tough mentally. He’s stayed with the team and been in every at-bat with us. That’s why he’s having success. He’s a natural-born hitter.”

Those are pretty kind words when referring to a Millennial who just walked across your lawn to leave a flaming bag of dog poo on your doorstep. Then again, it’s easy to forgive such a frat-tastic departure from the pinkie-out decorum of the major league clubhouse when you’re talking about the cocksure comeback kid who’s conjuring up images of Willis Reed without the limp. Schwarber’s performance in the first two games in Cleveland even had many speculating that he might be able to patrol left field in Chicago.

He did exactly that during Thursday’s BP session, though he was limited to just tracking flight paths and getting a feel for things. So was it a bit of gamesmanship or a legitimate attempt to help him acclimate to his old position? Maybe both, probably the former.

Back a couple months ago, even insinuating that Schwarber might be activated for the World Series seemed like the ravings of a peyote-addled madman. Yet here we are. After watching him display a patient, practiced approach to drive in a pair of runs, the idea of taking on a bigger role was pushed to the forefront. And then you see that the wind is expected to be blowing out, hard, on Friday. And the very unscary Josh Tomlin is on the mound. Come on, it’s tailor-made.

But then there’s the idea that the dew-slicked outfield grass might not afford the best footing for a guy still getting used to his legs again. Being medically cleared to hit and run the bases is one thing, getting the green light to go zigging and zagging around in left is quite another. It’s not the matter of a potential collision as much as it is that this human wrecking ball simply hasn’t gone full-speed out there and doing so in live game action might not be best for either Schwarber or the Cubs.

Of course, he’s already made a significant impact even if he never gets another AB in the series. Whether it’s on the scoreboard, with his teammates, or the spirits of 10-year-old Campbell Faulkner (I dare you to not get at least a little misty reading that one), Schwarber’s been the hero thus far. Can you imagine the ovation he’s going to get when he first steps in to pinch-hit at Wrigley? Woow.

Something tells me we’ve only seen the start of what this young man’s going to do in the Fall Classic.

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