Cubs

Kyle Schwarber: 'There's a pit in the stomach' after Cubs eliminated

10-21-sad-schwarber-cubs.png

Kyle Schwarber: 'There's a pit in the stomach' after Cubs eliminated

As unexpected as it was, Kyle Schwarber wasn’t ready for the Cubs’ fantastic season to come to an end.

Not 30 minutes after a Game 4 loss to the New York Mets at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, one that sealed his team’s fate, the rookie outfielder and club’s unofficial postseason MVP was focused on all the tiny details and how close the Cubs came to returning to the World Series for the first time in 70 years.

Even though the Cubs were swept in four games by the Mets, including an 8-3 loss in Game 4, Schwarber could think of several plays that could have shifted the series in the Cubs’ direction. But in the end of what he called a “great season overall,” all Schwarber was left with is an empty feeling he hopes will drive him as he prepares for the 2016 season.

[MORE: A season comes crashing down for Cubs in NLCS]

“It’s tough,” Schwarber said. “There’s a big pit in my stomach right now saying ‘What if? What if we won four games and go to the World Series? And what if we won the World Series?’ But that’s what if? This is reality. We lost and now we know what it takes to get here, to get one step away from the World Series. There’s going to be a lot of thinking, a lot of getting into shape and when we are working out we’ve got to remember this feeling of what it is like to have this feeling and how we don’t want to have this feeling.”

Schwarber doesn’t yet know his role with the Cubs in 2016, whether he’s expected to move behind the plate or if he’ll stay in the outfield.

His powerful bat helped him make a meteoric rise through the minors this season and forced the Cubs to find any way they could to get him in the lineup. That meant 51 appearances in the outfield between the regular season and the playoffs. While Schwarber didn’t hurt the team during the regular season -- he finished with a minus-0.3 Ultimate Zone Rating -- he misplayed three fly balls in the final two losses of the series. Twice on Wednesday, Schwarber dove to make plays and missed, though neither play led to a run scored.

“I’m going to be aggressive,” Schwarber said. “I’m not going to make a passive error. I’m always going to be aggressive at any time. I look at those plays as being aggressive. They didn’t go in my favor obviously. Full responsibility is on me about that but I’m always going to be an aggressive player. So if I feel like I can make an out, I’m going to try to make an out.”

[NBC SHOP: Buy Cubs playoff gear]

Schwarber said he doesn’t have a preference for either position and would play wherever the Cubs ask.

He suggested he learned much from his rookie campaign -- one in which he blasted 21 combined home runs in 304 plate appearances between the regular season and the playoffs -- discussing the takeaways from his interactions with veteran teammates and how they pushed him to improve. He’s excited about the core group the Cubs have moving forward and is optimistic. Schwarber expects the lessons learned from this run to immediately pay dividends.

But he also couldn’t get over the sting and how close the Cubs actually came to achieving a goal nobody thought possible when they assembled in Mesa, Arizona in February.

“We know what it takes to get here,” Schwarber said. “We know we have a good core group of guys here and we know what we can do as a team. Obviously there’s a pit in the stomach. But trust us, we’ll all be looking forward to next year.

“It’s funny. A lot of things didn’t go our way. A lot of tough plays, just a lot of things that could go the other way. But its baseball, man. What can we do?”

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

mlb-as-stadium.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

NBC Sports Chicago’s own Kelly Crull and videographer Scott Changnon recalled what All-Star week in the nations capitol was like from their point of view.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

 

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

tom.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

What Chicago sports team is worth the most money in 2018?

As reported by Kurt Badenhausen in a Forbes article about the 50 richest teams around the globe, the Cubs are the most valuable organization in the Windy City.

Chicago’s North Side baseball team ranks as the 16th wealthiest team in the world, valued at $2.9 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2017. The Cubs are the third-most affluent franchise in Major League Baseball, behind the New York Yankees ($4 billion) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($3 billion).

This year, the baseball club owned by the Ricketts family surpassed the wealth of the Boston Red Sox ($2.8 billion), who the Cubs were ranked behind last season at $2.68 billion. In the span of a year, the North Siders gained two spots in the top 50 from 18 to 16 on the list.

What could be the reason for this increase?

Could it be that the Cubs are in first place in the NL Central? Or could it be the incredible performances from players like Jon Lester and Javy Baez?

Whatever the reason is for the Cubs’ prosperity, the team is doing something right.

The club also surpassed the Bears on the list this year. In 2017 the Bears (worth $2.7 billion last year) were tied with the Red Sox as the 16th most valuable sports team on Earth. The McCaskey-owned football team has fallen to a tie at 17 with the San Francisco Giants, both valued at $2.85 billion in 2018. The Bears even increased by 6 percent in the last year, making the Cubs’ jump seem greater.

The Bulls, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, are the last team from Chicago to make the cut. They stand at 23 in the top 50, tied with the Denver Broncos. Both franchises are worth $2.6 billion. Chicago’s NBA team even fell a spot from 2017, but they still increased their value by 4 percent (worth $2.5 billion last year).

The Bears are the seventh richest team in the NFL, while the Bulls are fourth wealthiest in the NBA.