Love Letters From Pronk: Kyle Schwarber
Love Letters From Pronk is an ongoing series where Pronk shares his love for somebody connected to the Cubs. Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, sometimes touching, Pronk likes to make 100% sure people know that they are loved, and best expresses that through gushing letters. Today's recipient: former Cub Kyle Schwarber
Kyle Schwarber was a special player for the Cubs. Drafted in 2014 as a proficient college slugger, he had immediate impact for the 2015 Cubs with a ton of big home runs. There was a Wild Card blast off Gerrit Cole into the Allegheny river at Pittsburgh, then a division series bomb that went up on top of the RF video board. 2016 was a lost year due to a horrific injury, but Kyle defied all odds in coming back for a World Series performance that won't ever be forgotten. Since then, he developed into a big swinging left fielder, before being non tendered and subsequently signing with the Washington Nationals. After six seasons as a Cubs, he's established himself as one of the big faces of this Golden Age of Cubs baseball.
We will miss you in left field in 2021 and for years to come. I get it, baseball is a business and sometimes it's a puzzle trying to assemble a roster under a budget, but it's still sad to see you go. You were a fun player to watch and a big piece of so many great memories. I hope that you have a fruitful time in Washington, and maybe we'll get to see you again someday.
I have many great Kyle Schwarber memories:
• The blast into the river during the 2015 Wild Card game put the Pirates on ice. Us fans were already feeling great with Arrieta pitching, but that huge home run gave us big time confidence.
• Following that with a huge home run against the Cardinals division series that went all the way on top of the video board. It was another confidence boosting moment that made us all realize that the Cubs were legitimate.
• Your injury in 2016 was so hard to watch. We were looking forward to seeing you develop into a big time hitter, and that freak accident wrecked it. The rehab effort was admirable, which led to....
• Your 2016 World Series performance. That was legendary. It was already a thrill having you come back to play when your season should have been long gone. But for you to come back and have as many hits as you did, I won't ever forget it. It was a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, a tribute to what a "can-do" attitude can accomplish.
• Your struggles in 2017 were tough to watch, but I was impressed with how you handled your demotion to the minors. You came back strong and better than ever.
• In 2018, my longtime dream of catching a ball in the stands came true. I was sitting in the left field bleachers with my wife, taking in a game for our anniversary. At the end of warmups going into the fourth inning, you threw the ball into the stands, coming right for me. I yelled "Oh my God, here comes Schwarber's BALL!" as it bounced off my hands and into the bleachers. I fell to my knees and snagged it, knocking over three beers as nobody else fought me for the ball. I proudly came up with it, and that baseball came home with us that night. After 20 years as a fan, I finally got a souvenir.
• Your huge second half in 2019 was super fun to watch. It was those couple of months that we saw all of what Kyle Schwarber could do on a baseball field.
While it's tough to say goodbye, this feels like more of a "see you around." The name Kyle Schwarber is permanently etched in Cubs history forever. I look forward to seeing you at Cubs conventions and singing the 7th inning stretch someday when you hang up your cleats.
Thank you for throwing that ball to me in the stands. It was one of my favorite baseball moments of all time.
PS: Please enjoy this highlight video I made of your fantastic play.