Andrew Romine says he was surprised when he got the call.
The Cubs had traded away their All-Star core in a flurry of deals before the July 30 deadline. Romine, an infielder then playing for Triple-A Iowa, was being brought up to the big leagues.
“I know at this point [in the season] it's a really nice opportunity for [teams] to call up some young guys and see what they have,” Romine said Friday.
“I'm very grateful to the organization for this opportunity to be up here and to be able to be around these guys and participate.”
Participate might be putting it too lightly.
Exactly one week after his callup, Romine provided Cubs fans and a packed house at Wrigley Field with a memorable moment in the opener of the crosstown series against the White Sox.
Romine hit a game-tying home run off former Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, who was also dealt in the flurry of trades last week.
Kimbrel had allowed two earned runs all season before the blast. He hadn’t allowed an earned run since May 15. The Cubs went on to lose in 10 innings.
“I have no idea how things work or why things work in baseball,” Romine said. “Our family's been around a long time, and there's no rhyme or reason to anything.”
The Cubs signed Romine, brother of backup catcher Austin Romine, in March. The infielder only played only two games in the big leagues in 2020 and was headed for Triple-A at the age of 35.
“You can blame my wife for that,” Romine said of what drove him to play. “She said, ‘You go play until you can't play anymore. You play until they take it away, because once you quit, nobody's going to come asking.
“’Nobody's going to come knocking on your door to play baseball again.’ She's been amazing, great support.”
Romine has played well since last week’s promotion, going 7-for-16 at the plate, including 2-for-5 Friday. He’s exclusively played shortstop in five games but can play all around the infield and has outfield experience
“It’s a solid at-bat, a solid defender,” manager David Ross said. “You feel like if they hit it in his area, he’s going to pick it up, and throw it to the right base.
“I’ve been really impressed. He’s done a really nice job since he's been here for us.”
Romine is savoring the opportunity. He said he still gets the same thrill coming up and making an impact on a big-league team.
“Every single time I step on the field, it's exciting,” he said. “I feel grateful, and I feel really excited to be a part of something that, for a lot of people, is a very short period of time that they get to play in the big leagues.
“And I've been blessed to be able to be here for longer than I thought I would be.”