“I’ve never seen @KrisBryant_23 not smiling,” a fan chirped on Twitter Friday with four photos of the new Cubs third baseman and his gleaming grin.
Can we get a grip, please?
New Yorkers must be laughing at our giddiness over Kris Bryant, the 23-year-old who made his debut – finally – Friday against the San Diego Padres. Would the Big Apple go bonkers over a rookie the way Chicago has?
Starry-eyed we are.
Bryant led Major League Baseball this spring with nine home runs and hit .425. An auspicious start, for sure, but the Cubs sent him down to the minor leagues before opening day. By keeping him away for 12 days, the Cubs put off Bryant’s entry to free agency by a year to late 2021, a move that could save the club millions.
The Cubs want to hang on to this guy, but their conscientious business decision didn’t sit well with antsy pennant chasers.
His delayed debut made Friday bigger than any opening day. A horde of news media followed Bryant before the game, observing his star quality and keeping fans aware of his every move. “There’s a big likability quotient for Kris Bryant,” a baseball writer for ESPN.com wrote on Twitter. “He comes across as very genuine in his media interactions.”
More important, he handled his first ground ball with no problem, it was reported, which got a tongue-in-cheek reply from South Bend Tribune reporter Eric Hansen: “Sips a cup of water in dugout. Turns to wine.”
Maybe we should take it down a notch, Chicago.