CINCINNATI – Leave it to the kid without a full season in the big leagues yet to keep a level head – even in what might have been the headiest moment of his baseball life.
After his third home run during Monday’s historic power performance – second into the upper deck at Great American Ball Park – Kris Bryant got exuberant shoves from teammates wanting him to take a curtain call in front of a largely Cub-partisan crowd in Cincinnati.
But Bryant shoved back. Firmly.
It was a moment that highlighted what might be the only thing more impressive about last year’s Rookie of the Year than his power at this point in his career.
“I’ve never been the type to show up an opponent, or anybody. And I don’t think that’s ever happened in baseball,” Bryant said of the distasteful prospect of taking a curtain call in a road ballpark.
“And I definitely didn’t want to be the first,” he said. “I’m just not that type of player.”
Bryant thrilled teammates and much of the crowd with a fireworks hitting display that included three home runs, two doubles and six RBIs.
Bryant after his second homer Monday
He’s the youngest Cub to hit three homers in a game (10 days younger than Ernie Banks in 1955), the first player in history with three homers and two doubles in a single game, and he set the 140-year-old franchise’s record with 16 total bases.
But he’s not about to draw a spotlight to himself on the field in somebody’s else’s ballpark over it.
“I’m glad my teammates are having fun with it,” Bryant, 24, said. “And I’m glad there’s lots of Cubs fans here. “But I’m not that guy.”
Manager Joe Maddon made a point to mention that moment among Bryant’s exploits Monday night.
“He enjoys the moment when it occurs but he doesn’t go over the top with it,” Maddon said. “He’s very old school.
“He doesn’t flamboyantly dunk the basketball, he doesn’t spike the football, and he doesn’t flip the bat. He’s a man for all ages,” the manager added. “I loved everything, obviously, that he did and how he handled the whole day. I thought it was perfect.”