Kris Bryant was living any number of young kids’ dreams on Friday afternoon. The superstar phenom who fans have nicknamed “Sparkles” was called up to the Major Leagues a little more than two years after being drafted. Kris Bryant has long been thought of as the culmination of a rebuilding process that has seen the Chicago Cubs sink to one of the worst records in baseball over the last few years. Unfortunately, Kris Bryan’s Major League debut was anything but storybook.
The young third baseman batted clean-up in his first game in the bigs and proceeded to strike out in his first three at-bats on his way to an 0-4 day. While this is an obvious dream come true for Kris Bryant, it should be pointed out that there is an enormous amount of pressure on the young man. That pressure was perhaps piled on by the fact that his new manager decided to bat him right in the middle of the order.
Most rookies aren’t going to be batting that high in the lineup in their first game, just because of the pressure that comes along with playing the Majors for the first time. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon clearly believes that Kris Bryant can handle it. On the flipside, the young slugger came up to bat with numerous opportunities to drive runners in and failed every time. Worse yet is that he failed numerous times and his team lost by a single run. If that continues, Kris Bryant is going to go from conquering hero to draft bust in rather short order.
As Deadspin pointed out, there are at least a few fans who have already begun turning on Kris Bryant. After his third at-bat of the game on Friday, there were some definite murmurings when he struck out yet again, and one fan could clearly be heard yelling “you suck.” Cubs fans have come into 2015 expecting a lot from a team that announced over the winter it was done rebuilding. Kris Bryant’s arrival was another sign the team was ready to win and win now. If Krist Bryant doesn’t start hitting almost immediately, those same fans are going to become very nervous.
That’s not really fair when you’re talking about Kris Bryant, a kid who just got to the Bigs. The problem is that he absolutely tore up Spring Training. Now Kris Bryant has to live up to the hype and carry the team on his back.
[Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]