It was a debut-week that teased Cubs fans so much that they took to Twitter is masses to ask Len Kasper, TV voice of the club, Jesse Rodgers, ESPN's Cubs beat reporter, and others if there was any chance that Kyle Schwarber had been so successful that Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon would change the plan they announced last week.
Len Kasper wasn't a fan of all the questions and vehemently defended the plan:
Guys, Schwarber is a C & no spot for him right now. Needs to catch @ AAA. Would u rather he had just gone to AAA & not come here for 6 days?— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) June 19, 2015
In other words, 2 options--bring him here for the week or just send him to AAA. I kinda like that they brought him here personally.— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) June 19, 2015
STOP comparing Schwarber to David Ross. Ross plays 1-2x a week. That's NOT what Kyle Schwarber is. He plays every day. Do you get this?— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) June 19, 2015
One last thing -- Theo laid out EXACTLY the plan. Yet feels like people sometimes don't take his words into account. He said it blatantly.— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) June 19, 2015
That plan was to bring Kyle Schwarber up for a cup of coffee - a six day stint in the show where he would DH in five games in five days, all in American League cities. Epstein said that Schwarber was going to be promoted from Double-A to Triple-A around this time anyway, and it just worked out that Chicago had a lineup spot to fill at the time he would be transitioning.
So, as Joe Maddon put, since Schwarber's next potential stay with the club would be in September and October as the club pushes for a playoff spot and, hopefully, a pennant, they thought it was a perfect opportunity to get the 4th pick of the 2014 draft wet behind the ears.
Schwarber's first opportunity came a night earlier and in a far different manner than expected. At the end of the Top of the 8th inning in a blowout loss to the Cleveland Indians in Chicago, Cubs catcher Miguel Montero was ejected after using choice words with the home plate umpire. So Schwarber's first appearance came in a role that absolutely no one thinks he's ready to take on in the majors: catcher. And in the bottom half of the inning, he got his first MLB at-bat under his belt. It lasted only three pitches, and he went down looking, but it laid the foundation for things to come.
Wednesday night, the Cubs traveled to Cleveland, and after Miguel Montero was scratched, Schwarber was moved up from the 8-spot, where he was initially slated to hit, and hit 6th, behind Starlin Castro, who coincidentally was the last Cubs prospect to be promoted to the big leagues directly from Double-A.
What did Schwarber do? He raked.
He went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, which was all started by his first career hit, a triple down the right field line that scored Chris Coghlan to make it 1-0. If you want to be a homer (and you should want to be a homer for this guy), you could call it the game-winning RBI in a 17-0 rout for the Cubs.
Thursday, Cubs fans got their first SCHWARBER BOMB as the youngster hit an effortless opposite field 2-run home run. It was one of his two hits on the night.
Schwarber cooled off slightly in Minnesota, going just 2-for-12 against the Twins. But in the end, these numbers were more than anyone could have imagined:
In the grand scheme of things, .364 (8-for-22) with 1 HR, 6 RBI, and 6 Runs is nothing more than a nice start to a promising career. But to some, it's much more. For Cubs fans, it is another indication of the changing tides, a glimpse into a nearing future that just might have enough young talent in it to undo more than 100 years of pain. For Hoosier fans, it's a week to be proud of, a taste of what will soon be a daily reminder of the privilege they had in 2012 and 2013 from watching the best hitter in college baseball.
And for Schwarber? "I proved to myself that I’ve got a chance to do it," Schwarber said. "I’ve got to work on some more things."
"It was a little bit of a dabble into what could happen. It was a really good time"
Here's what that week wasn't, though. It wasn't a showcase. This wasn't the Cubs trotting out Schwarber and showing everything he can do as the trade deadline looms about 40 days away. This wasn't the first part of moving Schwarber in order to bring in a veteran to help the Cubs in the dog days of August. It had nothing to do with anything other than getting a guy who is ready to be a Major League hitter some at-bats at a convenient time and place.
Now, it's off to Iowa, where Schwarber will continue to develop his skills behind the plate, which are all that's keeping him from being an everyday player in Chicago. But don't expect him to be there long. When September call-ups come around, Schwarber will have place on the bench for a team right in the thick of things in the National League playoff hunt. And he'll be the first bat called off the bench to pinch-hit.
What's more, if that goes well, Schwarber may just find himself on a playoff roster a mere 17 months after he finished his career in Bloomington.
Until then, memories of six great days will have to hold over longing Cubs fans:
I already miss Kyle Schwarber.— Cubs No-Hit Streak (@CubsNoHitStreak) June 22, 2015
Kyle Schwarber: Oppo homer for his sixth hit in two days. Working definition of Hitter-ish.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 19, 2015
Kyle Schwarber is not human. First career homer ties the game.— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 19, 2015