Telander: Cubs catcher Schwarber hanging on by his nails
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It’s nice to see Kyle Schwarber behind the plate for the Cubs.
The rookie from Indiana University is that rare catcher combo of right-handed thrower and left-handed power hitter. He was brought up from the minors earlier this season to be the designated hitter against American League clubs and show off his hitting stroke. But now he’s up to play for real, with Miguel Montero on the 15-day disabled list.
But it’s obvious Schwarber is a work in progress. A catcher in progress, that is.
He made a couple of defensive blunders the other night against the Braves, when he threw wildly on a steal and then was called for catcher interference a few innings later.
Monday night he let a wild pitch get away from him that allowed a run in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Reds. Yes, a wild pitch is on the pitcher. But a good catcher can stop many wild pitches in the dirt—and the ball Schwarber let by was stoppable.
“Our goal is to win the division,” manager Joe Maddon said before the game. But this was the kind of game the Cubs should have won, against a losing team, with the lead in the sixth inning.
Maybe it’s that Day-Glo lime-green nail polish or tape Schwarber wears on his right-hand fingernails that makes one wonder about his readiness.
I’m aware Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki and Yankees catcher Russell Martin, among others, wear stuff on their nails to make their signals more visible to the pitcher.
And I see that Suzuki, for God’s sake, endorses something called Game Signs, a purchasable set of small stickers that cover the nails so catchers don’t have to visit Revlon counters with mall rats deciding between rude red and Barbie beige.
You can get Game Signs in regular or large sizes, in white, orange, pink, yellow or (my favorite) the Variety Pack, just $12.99 for 100. Share `em with friends! Wear `em to the prom! Put `em on your dog!
Please, MLB, ban this idiocy. Next will be pitcher cheek rouge.
And Schwarber, before it all ends, why not just wear a clown hand on your righty? Can’t hurt.