I know a lot of you are excited for the start of the baseball season, but it’s clear that the influx of youthful rabble-rousers to Mesa and the surrounding area has brought no shortage of unsavory issues. It’s become de rigueur, even in the pages of this esteemed website, to laud the Theo Epstein-led Cubs for their commitment to so-called “high-character” guys with good “makeup.” Yet here we are, still a few days from the official start of Spring Training, dealing with more reports of wanton vandalism at Sloan Park.
I thought this vaunted front office would have curtailed such sophomoric shenanigans after free-swinging Javier Baez destroyed some poor fan’s windshield and didn’t even give the guy the courtesy of allowing him to keep the ball that had done the damage.
— grant smith (@gbsmith84) February 22, 2014
History repeated itself on Wednesday afternoon as a team trying to overcome the longest title drought in the history of professional sports is once again facing allegations of property destruction. This time it was 2015 playoff hero Kyle Schwarber at the center of the controversy that’s already been reported by the roughly eleventy billion various Cubs blogs, not to mention every local and national outlet with an interest in “baseball” coverage. By the way, when did MLB.com add a crime beat?
The obvious disregard for the health and safety of Spring Training visitors is one thing, but it appears as though the Cubs may even be engaging in a pattern of intimidation when it comes to victims of their misconduct. Tacit though it may be, the coercion is evident in the Instagram message above. Just look at how the poster fails to use his real name and how he is unable to reveal his identity even to those fellow fans gathered at the scene of the crime. That would all be bad enough on its own, but the perpetrator’s utter lack of accountability was simply appalling.
— Kyle Schwarber (@kschwarb12) February 17, 2016
You can almost smell the entitled smarm radiating from this tweet like the digital stank of a poop emoji come to life. At least Baez sort of passively offered to help cover the cost of his wrongdoing, though he subsequently threatened his target with retaliation should the car owner attempt to return to the ballpark.
Sorry about the window, i will pay it if i have to. But just dont park there again. Lol
— Javier Báez (@javy23baez) February 22, 2014
Schwarber seems intent to merely name-drop an auto-glass company in the hope that his newfound cachet would get him out of any monetary consequences. And the worse part? It appears to have worked! How are these kids supposed to learn to take any sort of personal responsibility when Corporate America just keeps swooping in to bail them out? What kind of monstrous abomination have you wrought, Theo?
.@kschwarb12 We can absolutely help him out! Should we be ready to fix more outside the park tomorrow?
— Safelite AutoGlass® (@safelite) February 17, 2016
I’ve devoted countless time and words to detailing the exploits of the young men making names for themselves in Chicago, which is why it pains me so much to have to hammer out a piece like this. And speaking of hammering things out, Cubs fans had better be on the lookout for further incidents like this as the spring wears on. Given the delinquency of the individuals in question, it’s easy to believe concussive blasts will continue to leave spiderwebs etched across countless more cars before the team once again heads north.
You have to wonder whether the folks who have to put up with this for the next several weeks are rethinking their decision to play host to such a sinful circus each season. Unless, of course, they’re employed by car insurance or auto glass companies. Stay strong, Mesa, it’ll all be over soon. Before you know it, the calendar will turn to April and these trouble-making Cubs will be taking aim at scoreboards instead of windshields.
UPDATE: Apparently the authorities are unwilling to crack down on the sophomoric stunts being perpetrated by the sophomore slugger, because Kyle Schwarber was back at it again on Tuesday. When will this reign of terror end? Is no car safe? Sure, these people should know better than to park their cars fewer than 500 feet from home plate, but that doesn’t give this kid the right to pass judgment on their bad decisions. Whether it’s vandalism or vigilantism, someone needs to put a stop to it. The time has come for someone to put his foot down, and that foot is me!
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) February 23, 2016
Ed. note: I think I laid the satire on thick enough here for everyone to know that this was a joke. I really just wanted to take a story that had been done to death and then think, “What would the Sun-Times do to change the angle here?” Seriously, though, it was pretty cool for Schwarber — and I’m not sure whether he’s got a relationship with Safelite or was encouraged to tag them in a tweet or what, and I really don’t care — to have that little product drop in there. I’ve had to use Safelite’s services on more than one occasion and they actually did come out to our house to replace my wife’s windshield. I even had to have a couple side windows replaced after break-ins several years ago. Fun times. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this get-off-my-lawn take. If not, well, GET OFF MY LAWN!