MESA, Arizona -- The Cubs had a late-afternoon game Thursday and so Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant had a little extra time on his hands.
He used that time Thursday morning to play a prank on the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds. Conspiring with coach Antony Cirelli, the two tricked the team into believing that the All-Star third baseman was a new hotshot transfer. Kris used the alias of Roy Nabryt (‘Roy’ is short for Rookie of the Year and ‘Nabryt’ is an anagram of "Bryant").
Coach Cirelli began what appeared to be a normal team practice by telling his team that a transfer was arriving shortly and he was likely going to be penciled into the starting lineup.
"He’s a big donkey, he’s got crazy power," Coach Cirelli said to his team. "He can help us. Guys who are pitching are going to lose some innings. Guys who are hitting are going to lose at bats. If he gets us to Oklahoma for the World Series and we win another ring, no one’s going to be complaining."
The coach went on to explain that the "kid" was a "late in-season arrival from Europe due to VISA problems." Needless to say, some players weren’t thrilled to hear that they could be losing their starting spots.
If you're wondering how cameras captured all of this drama without the players figuring out what was going on, the team invented this alibi: the camera crew was there all week as "part of Mesa Community College’s video team doing a feature on the school and program."
Eventually, some of the players recognized Bryant and the prank was up, but not before everyone had a good laugh.
Mesa Community College has won 18 national championships and has a strong tradition of producing major-league players. That list includes Hubie Brooks, Shea Hillenbrand, Mickey Hatcher, Ken Phelps and Pat Darcy. Kris Bryant can be semi-officially added to that list now.
Here's video of how it all went down.