‘Dream come true’: Cubs closer David Robertson waited 14 years for his moment and it finally came Wednesday night
All season, David Robertson had one wish — he wanted to get an at-bat.
He made his 696th career regular season appearance on the mound in the 8th inning Wednesday night but after 14 years in the big leagues, the reliever had never recorded an at-bat.
He finally got that chance in the 9th inning.
Cubs manager David Ross agreed to let Robertson hit in the DH spot if it came back around in the order in the top of the 9th inning. The only problem was Robertson was due up 8th in the inning, so he needed at least 5 of his teammates to reach base safely.
The Pirates had infielder Diego Castillo on the mound in the blowout and after a leadoff walk, Castillo induced a lineout and a groundout. Things weren’t looking great for Robertson.
But then Andrelton Simmons walked, Jason Heyward was hit by a pitch and Alfonso Rivas yanked his first career grand slam to right field. Rafael Ortega followed with a single, setting the stage for Robertson’s big moment.
The Cubs closer worked a full count but ultimately struck out, swinging through a 50 mph pitch from Castillo well above the zone.
“It was fun to get in the box,” Robertson told reporters after the game. “Just couldn’t hit the ball. It was so slow and I wasn’t gonna walk.
“I blew it. It’s easy to tell if it’s a ball or a strike when it’s 40 mph but I wasn’t gonna walk. I had to swing. I had to try. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another opportunity.
“I’m glad I did and it made my dream come true even though I struck out.”
Robertson was all smiles after the game, even though his teammates were “wearing me out” for striking out.
“That was tough,” Keegan Thompson joked. “He’s been begging for an at-bat the whole year and he swung and missed 3 times.”
Robertson used Christopher Morel’s bat and Yan Gomes’ helmet and didn’t bother with batting gloves.
Ross acknowledged it was a good bit of levity and enjoyed being on the right side of a blowout, where the Cubs could enjoy moments like Robertson’s at-bat.
The Cubs manager also offered a scouting report on Robertson’s swing at the plate:
“Maybe too much bat speed for how slow it was coming,” Ross told reporters in Pittsburgh. “He couldn’t stop smiling on deck. He feels like a kid at heart a lot of times. Even when he’s pitching, he’s smiling or talking to himself.
“His teammates were definitely enjoying that. I was enjoying that. That was fun.”