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Kris Bryant: Players don’t buy commissioner apology for ‘piece of metal’ quip, remain united

“This was something that was very important to me and very important to this whole organization, because we hadn’t had one on 108 years,” Bryant said of the commissioner’s reference to the World Series trophy. “That piece of metal meant a lot to this whole city.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred during Tuesday’s media conference in which he apologized for his “piece of metal” comment.
Commissioner Rob Manfred during Tuesday’s media conference in which he apologized for his “piece of metal” comment.
John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — If the commissioner and owners think that player-on-player anger arising from the Astros’ cheating scandal is a sign of rank-and-file divisions ahead of the next round of labor negotiations, Kris Bryant said they should think again.

“I think they’re looking at it like a good thing, but then the commissioner makes certain remarks that irk some players,” the Cubs’ union rep said Wednesday. “You see players respond to that, and it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, we actually are united when it comes to [management].’ ”

Commissioner Rob Manfred on Sunday called the World Series trophy just “a piece of metal” when discussing why he didn’t strip the Astros of their title over the sign-stealing cheating scandal. He apologized Tuesday.

Cubs pitcher Jon Lester ripped Manfred for the comment earlier Tuesday.

And by Wednesday, Bryant wasn’t buying the apology.

“I don’t think people are accepting it,” Bryant said. “When you say something like that, I just genuinely believe he really meant that. He really meant that it was just a piece of metal. Not to me. I have one in my office back home, and it’s right there, right in the middle of the center of attention. This was something that was very important to me and very important to this whole organization, because we hadn’t had one in 108 years. That piece of metal meant a lot to this whole city.”

Bryant, who filed an unsuccessful grievance against the Cubs over service-time manipulation as a precursor to collective bargaining talks, said the luxury-tax thresholds that teams use as a salary cap are “pretty high up there” on the list of priority targets for the union.