Cubs

Kyle Schwarber out to show Cubs he's here to stay

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Kyle Schwarber out to show Cubs he's here to stay

CINCINNATI — Kyle Schwarber’s homecoming angle might feel a little different if he wasn’t replacing a two-time All-Star catcher and the Cubs weren’t in the middle of a pennant race.

The Cubs don’t yet know — or won’t publicly reveal — how serious Miguel Montero’s thumb injury is now. So Schwarber’s crash course in the big leagues will continue indefinitely.

“I’m happy that I’m back here in Cincinnati, but it’s time to do the job,” Schwarber said Monday afternoon, surrounded by four TV cameras and more than a dozen reporters in Great American Ball Park’s visiting dugout before a 5-4 loss to the Reds.

Yes, Schwarber grew up about 40 miles from here, rooting for the Reds, looking up to Ken Griffey Jr. and studying how Joey Votto approaches at-bats with such patience.

[MORE CUBS: Rafael Soriano ready to win now with Cubs]

Montero was scheduled to visit another hand specialist on Monday in Arizona to get a better idea of how long he might be sidelined. The Cubs have made it clear Montero will miss more than 15 days and don’t necessarily see his left thumb as a quick fix.

The impact hitter the Cubs add before the July 31 trade deadline might essentially be Schwarber, who had his bat from last week’s Futures Game in Cincinnati sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Schwarber earned the MVP award in that All-Star showcase event about 13 months after the Cubs drafted him No. 4 overall out of Indiana University. There were some doubts about whether or not Schwarber would be able to catch at the major-league level, a perception that maybe the Cubs reached for a designated hitter.

Good or bad, Schwarber doesn’t believe the hype.

[MORE CUBS: GIF: Reds' Brandon Phillips makes jaw-dropping flip against Cubs]

“I really don’t pay attention to any of that — the prospect (stuff) or any other rankings,” Schwarber said. “I’m a ballplayer just like anyone else is — I’m trying to now stay here.

“I got here. Now it’s time to stay here. The easy part is getting here. The hard part is getting to stay here. So whatever I got to do to stay here, I’m going to (do it).”

Schwarber got a taste during interleague play last month, walking into a clubhouse filled with young talent (Kris Bryant, Addison Russell) and veteran leaders like catcher David Ross.

“That’s the good thing about this team,” Schwarber said. “All the egos are put aside at the door. We’re all out here to win. We want to win. And whatever it takes, we’re going to do it.

“Whenever we’re going over a report, or whatever situation comes up in the game, it comes down to me doing my homework (and) making sure the pitcher is on the same page.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m not a complete product at all. I always want to be a student of the game, always learning the game.”

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

In front of his hometown crowd, Schwarber went 1-for-4 with a walk and scored a run. (The Reds also scored a run on Clayton Richard’s wild pitch in the fourth inning). Schwarber now has a .974 OPS through his first 10 games in The Show.

Schwarber hasn’t even completed his first full season in professional baseball yet, and he’s already forcing the issue. He’s out to show the Cubs that he’s here to stay.

“Outstanding,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You saw him go out to the mound and talk to the pitchers a couple times — very comfortably — and he always has a good message. I got to give the kid a lot of credit, man. He’s really understanding this quickly.

“He’s the one who has to be the sponge — willing to absorb — and then has to have the aptitude to put it in play. He’s got all that going on.”

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...