Don't know if you heard, but Kris Bryant is debuting today at Wrigley Field. I'm sure if I went lurking around the White Sox corners of the internet, there would be the requisite bitching about how this is a Cubs town, people forecasting his failure, in fact hoping for it, and the general little brother tone of White Sox fans when it comes to the Cubs. If you want those type of feelings to be validated here, sorry isn't going to happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm a White Sox fan and if they have Kris Bryant enter Wrigley upon a colt I will think it a bit much, but I'm not going to root for a 23 year old kid to fail. Considering I live in Chicago, being able to see this kid play on a regular basis is a pretty unique treat. Watching good baseball is a good time, no matter who is playing. I like it a little more in US Cellular Field, but I'll pretty much watch baseball anytime anywhere. Even if I have no real rooting interest (a concept my son totally does not get) I love just having the sound of the game in the background. So having a really good player coming up on the local broadcast? I'll be tuning in, good is good.
I would say to Cubs fans who are justifiably giddy, to try and take it easy. I know this is like the hot person going to prom with you, all puppy dogs and rainbows, but try to keep some semblance of perspective. This sort of thing has happened before. Now, in the past it has been the Cubs touting the rise of one of their own and no one else really thought much of them. (See: Pie, Felix, Patterson, Corey, and Choi, Heep Sop.) Their has even been nationally hyped Cubs players who have done well at the beginning and well, by the time that covetous extra year of control that now exists for Bryant those players were pretty much average at best. (See: Wood, Kerry, Prior, Mark.) However, Bryant does seem to be a different, a really exciting player that will live up to all of the expectations.
And Cubs fans? The kid is probably going to struggle at some point. Even the very best have rough patches. He might start slow or supernova hot, but give him some time. If he's the real deal, the good will far out weigh the bad. I was lucky enough to do an interview session with Rick Hahn and Buddy Bell from the White Sox and one of the things that Bell said that I think is very pertinent to a discussion of Bryant is this. Buddy said that the jump from AAA to the Big Leagues is the biggest jump in organized baseball. It wasn't always that way, but now the game is so much faster, the pitchers better that the move up to the top level is quite difficult. From everything we've seen, Kris Bryant is up to the challenge, but it isn't going to be painless. Give the kid some time and enjoy it. I know I will.
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