If Kris Bryant clips a fingernail too close, half of Chicago dials 911. So you can imagine the civic consternation when the Cubs’ prized rookie exited Sunday’s game because of dizziness after a hard slide.
He’s OK. The city is taking a few days off to recover.
Four months since his arrival, Bryant has taken over the town. It happened some time between his first batting-practice swing and his first dimpled smile. Cubs fans have been known to throw themselves at anything with the faintest whiff of hope to it, but rarely with this much ardor.
If you saw Bryant, Patrick Kane, Joakim Noah and Jay Cutler walking down Michigan Avenue, what would you do? Intercept Cutler, of course! No, wise guy, whom would you want to meet? The guess here is that Bryant would give Kane a battle in the popularity department.
Sometimes a young player is so obviously talented that his abilities overshadow any struggles. Whenever Bryant comes to the plate, you expect something good to happen, even though he’s hitting only .246. That’s the ultimate compliment, isn’t it? A rookie as must-see TV?
He is on pace for 196 strikeouts, which would tie Mark Reynolds for 12th place all time for whiffs in a season. And yet, somehow it’s OK, because he’s also on pace for 22 home runs and 95 runs batted in.
The monthly slide of Bryant’s batting average hasn’t been met with the scowls and rolled eyes normally reserved for underachievers in Chicago. He hit .318 in April, .265 in May, .267 in June and .168 in July. And not a discouraging word from anyone. That just shows the status the kid already has.
He’s only 23. Try to find a Cubs fan who thinks the numbers will be the same next season. People look at Bryant and see a sure thing. They see a star. With dimples.