Kris Bryant is a phenom in every sense of the word, belting 43 homers in the minor leagues before making his major league debut this season. And yet, despite the gaudy numbers put up thus far, Bryant had yet to hit his first career home run in the majors before last night.
So, how did his fellow Cubs teammates celebrate this milestone? By disappearing from the club house altogether.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Kris connected with a pitch off Milwaukee’s Kyle Loshe and after rounding the bases, returned to a completely empty dugout.
“As Bryant rounded the bases after his three-run blast in the third inning, his teammates and coaches scampered to the clubhouse as a joke. After slapping hands with Anthony Rizzo, Bryant immediately trotted up the tunnel to find his teammates and shared laughs and hugs.”
While it may seem like a cruel joke, manager Bill Madden assured the media after the game that it was all in the spirit of fun.
“This is the perfect ballpark for that with the clubhouse being so close to the dugout, so we were all clustered in there,” Maddon said. “The funny part is (Bryant) came after us to be congratulated.”
Kris Bryant himself was also in on the joke, apparently, as he circled the bases giving the Cubs a temporary 3-2 lead. “I was rounding third and everyone was running in here,” Bryant said. “I didn’t see that, but coming to the dugout, I realized what they were doing. I had some fun with it.”
The Cubs would go on to lose the game 12-4, but regardless of the outcome, Kris Bryant’s first homer gave the fans something to cheer about. Despite a less-than-stellar debut, as reported by Inquistr, Kris Bryant has been on a tear since then and is seen across the league as it’s next great star. And as Yahoo! Sports points out, that made his first career home run something special for a city starving for greatness.
“It wasn’t just his moment. It also belonged to those fans, the organization that drafted him and let him mash his way to the big leagues, and it belonged to his teammates,” blogger Mark Townsend writes.
The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, the longest drought in baseball. Previously, the Boston Red Sox had gone almost 100 years in between winning a championship, a drought that ended in 2004 when the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 ALCS deficit to advance to the World Series and take home the crown.
[Kris Bryant photo credit: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images]