Dansby Swanson shared an emotional story about why joining Cubs means ‘the world’ to him
One of the happiest days in Dansby Swanson’s life quickly turned into one of the darkest.
On December 11, just one day after he and his wife, Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Pugh, were married, the pair left Lake Oconee, Ga. where they were wed, and raced back to the Atlanta-area, roughly an hour’s drive.
Swanson and Pugh knew they needed to get back to see his paternal grandfather, Herb Swanson.
“We pretty much left our wedding venue the next morning, drove home and basically had to rush over to the senior living facility where he was at and,” Swanson said, then paused, trying to not let the emotions of the story overwhelm him, “he ended up passing away on the day after we got married.”
Swanson was always close to his paternal grandfather, especially because of their shared love of America’s pastime.
Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Swanson would race home and go to his grandfather’s house, who lived across the yard from his parents. He would walk in and see his grandfather, who, more often than not, had the TV turned on to WGN where the Cubs were more often than not playing a day game.
“‘Pops, we’re in Atlanta, dude,’” Dansby recalled telling his grandpa. “‘We’re Braves fans.
“‘Why are you watching the Cubs games, dude?’”
But Herb was a seamhead and no matter who was playing, if baseball was on, he’d watch. He loved the hometown Braves, but the Cubs weren’t too far behind in his fandom.
“He just kinda grew into that love of appreciating the Cubs and watching the Cubs and started to have this affinity and love towards Chicago,” Swanson said. “He just loved baseball so much and they were on all the time and just kinda grew to be a Cubs fan.”
After giving his grandpa a hard time about his TV choice, Swanson would beg him to hit groundballs.
“Which he would always do,” Swanson recalled.
It laid the foundation for a life in baseball and who he is now. Swanson has grown into one of the premier defenders at shortstop and his ability to be a slick-fielding infielder started in his grandfather’s yard.
“He loved baseball so much and all he ever wanted me to be is doing what I’m doing now,” Swanson said.
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That’s what made the allure of the Cubs and Chicago so special. He had played with his hometown Atlanta Braves and won a World Series with them. Now, he’s looking to do the same with the Cubs, a team very near and dear to his heart.
“We just felt that the Cubs, which were his second favorite team, bringing a championship to this team is just what we had felt called to do,” Swanson said. “So, to be able to play for two of my grandfather’s two favorite teams means literally the world to me.
“Whenever I say, it’s a lot more personal to me than people realize, there’s definitely a story behind it.”