“I will never close this chapter” – Twin Cities

Four cameras staked out a spot in front of Kris Bryant’s locker at the Colorado Rockies clubhouse, a sight he could hardly miss as he approached after pre-game batting practice.

The Chicago Cubs’ four-game series against the Rockies isn’t the first time Bryant has faced his former team, with whom he’s earned every notable personal and team honor a big league can achieve. No, that came in early August after Bryant was sent to the San Francisco Giants as part of a third of the Cubs’ inaugural roster be traded on the reference date.

“I’ve enjoyed my time in Chicago, but I don’t know if it warrants a press conference every time I play them,” said a smiling Bryant ahead of Thursday’s series opener at Coors Field.

As Bryant begins the next chapter of his career in Colorado, he won’t forget his past.

“I don’t know if that chapter will ever be completed until I’m done playing baseball, because I’m relying on a lot of what I went through there to make me who I am now and get into future to help with the boys here,” Bryant said. “So I’ll never close that chapter because I had a lot of fun there.”

The Rockies in March gave Bryant one Seven-year, $182 million contract with a no-trade clause. Testing free agency earned Bryant the big thing he had shown during his seven seasons with the Cubs.

“It doesn’t feel like what I thought it would feel like I’m still who I was before I was traded or signed, mentally or just competitively,” Bryant said. “But I can rest assured that I know where I am and don’t have to listen to rumors or anything like that. So there is peace in that.”

Bryant was diplomatic when speaking in the visitors’ gallery at Wrigley Field in September about whether an offseason reunion with the Cubs was still possible after the Giants trade. He said the Things Cubs fans wanted to hear, keeping alive a modicum of hope that Bryant could return in the offseason. He stated that nothing would be ruled out, and it turns out he actually meant it. Bryant said Thursday there have been “very preliminary discussions” with the Cubs about “short-term things.”

His focus now is getting the Rockies into the postseason, and his formation with the Cubs will play a part in that.

“It’s just part of me and it’s part of me,” Bryant said. “It’s one of the reasons I’m able to be in the position I’m in today and there’s a lot of gratitude and gratitude to have anywhere. … A special time in my life that I will never forget.”

There won’t be many familiar faces when Bryant looks over at the visitors’ dugout during the four-game series at Coors Field. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks, catcher Willson Contreras and Manager David Ross are his only remaining teammates with the Cubs from the Champion team 2016. Bryant said he always knew Ross would make a great manager and was very pleased with his success, although he couldn’t pass up a chance to rip Ross.

“I mean, it’s hard to see him as a manager because I’m just thinking about ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I look like an idiot,” Bryant said. “But a really good friend of mine and he’s always been in my corner and I’ll always be in his corner – just not when we’re playing each other.”

When informed that Bryant had mentioned his stint on Dancing with the Stars, Ross joked, “I’m going to kill him.”

However, Ross has Bryant to thank for his Instagram account (GrandpaRossy_3), which has more than 451,000 followers. One night during spring training in 2016, Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler were talking over Instagram over dinner with Ross, who hasn’t been updated on the social media page. Bryant told him he needed Instagram. Ross arrived at the clubhouse the next morning and Bryant pointed him to the “Grandpa Rossy” Instagram account he had created for the veteran catcher.

Ross replied: “Why the hell do I need grandpa? I’m still playing.”

Ross cherishes those memories and everything he’s seen how Bryant has dealt with the pressure and expectations that have surrounded him since the Cubs drafted him the No. 2 in 2013.

“I see the human side a little bit more than the production side — I mean his numbers, of course, which you guys can see and judge,” Ross said. “But what I see is a guy who cares a lot about how things are perceived, how his teammates think of him, how he’s seen in public. He cares a lot about being a really good baseball player and he’s a good family man.”

Bryant’s legacy with the Cubs extends beyond what happened on the field. Bryant lost his appeal against the Cubs in January 2020 after an umpire ruled against him receiving an extra year of service. The decision came four years after Bryant filed his complaint, which came after winning National League Rookie of the Year in 2015. That year, the Cubs kept Bryant in the minors to start the season at Triple A for just 12 days to work on his defense. when then-President Theo Epstein explained why Bryant was not part of the opening-day list.

The new collective bargaining agreement addresses the tenure manipulation Bryant faced in two ways. The top two finishers for Rookie of the Year in each league will receive a full year of service regardless of when they were called up. And teams that promote their top picks to the opening day roster may be eligible for a draft pick bonus if the player finishes in the top three for ROY or top five for MVP or Cy Young awards.

Bryant understood he probably wouldn’t win his appeal, knowing it would be difficult to prove, but he’s glad changes were made.

“I’m just a little disappointed that I didn’t get a period; (Shohei) Ohtani got a rule, I don’t have a rule,” Bryant said. “Jokes aside, going through that process obviously wasn’t fun. A lot of media attention on it, and I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with it all the time. But I knew I had the best reasons to change the way the system was run and I felt I had to take it upon myself to do it for everyone.

“For all the attention and negativity that has come with it, it was worth it.”

Bryant wants to do for the Rockies what players like Ben Zobrist, Jon Lester and John Lackey did for him and the other younger Cubs en route to eventually winning the 2016 World Series title.

“I really want to take the opportunity that I have here to do that,” Bryant said.


https://www.twincities.com/2022/04/14/kris-bryant-always-will-be-grateful-for-his-time-with-the-chicago-cubs-im-not-ever-going-to-close-that-chapter/ “I will never close this chapter” – Twin Cities

Jessica MacLeish

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