CHICAGO — After two weeks with the Chicago Cubs, Kyle Schwarber said he’s ready to return to “real games.”
A rehab stint, in which Schwarber helped the Cubs end a 108-year World Series drought, has the slugger primed for play with his O’Callahan’s Irish Pub team in the Chicago Social Club fall softball league.
“It was just nice getting out there and having a few swings, and the parade the city put on for us was a nice touch,” Schwarber said. “But most importantly, I feel like my timing is back for when the games really matter.”
That will be starting this weekend, when O’Callahan’s has a doubleheader on Sunday against Tom’s Tavern, which won last season’s championship when O’Callahan’s forfeited the finals because too many players were out of town during Thanksgiving weekend.
“That was a tough pill to swallow, and I thought about it a lot while rehabbing at the Cubs facility this summer, and it gave me motivation to do whatever I needed to do to get back,” Schwarber said. “This year, we have a new captain, who has already e-mailed everyone the whole season’s schedule, so that should help. Plus, we picked up a couple extra guys from Bill’s work for when dudes get busy with the kids or holidays or whatever.”
Schwarber had knee surgery in April but returned for the World Series. Still, he admitted he was nervous for Friday’s check-up with his doctor – after the Cubs championship rally in Grant Park – where he was cleared to go 100 percent this fall.
“That was a tense afternoon and it was on my mind throughout the parade downtown and the whole time up on stage,” Schwarber said, shaking his head. “I mean, could you imagine all that work to get ready for the fall season, rehabbing with the Cubs and then not being able to play in the games that count?”
Schwarber said the World Series was a perfect preparation for the fall.
“I got to practice my swing and also my heavy drinking after the win and at the parade,” he said. “Now we’ll see how I do when I’m doing both at the same time in a more high-pressure environment.”
Schwarber hit .412 in 17 at-bats for the Cubs in the World Series, but his O’Callahan’s teammates were concerned he did not hit a single home run in the series.
“I guess it was nice to see him legging out a couple hits and everything,” teammate Tank Thompson said. “We’ll just have to see if that left knee is ready to hit some balls out of Winnemac Park, which is what we invited Kyle on the team to do.
“Hey, as long as we get those championship fleeces, that’s all that matters.”