MESA, Arizona — Kris Bryant arrived at Cubs spring training Saturday and met with reporters, and hoo boy did he not hold back!
Kris Bryant called Twitter “the worst thing to ever happen to this world.” Emphasized multiple times that the only opinion/source that matters is what is said directly from his mouth.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 15, 2020
Wow. And that was just the beginning. KB on the Astros sign-stealing scandal:
Bryant on Astros: “What a disgrace that was. Watching their apology yesterday, too. There’s no sincerity. There’s no genuineness when it comes to it. I know that if I messed up big in that way, I’d be the first one to let you know just how big of a mess up it was."— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 15, 2020
More Bryant: “A lot of the apology was about 2017. I’m pretty sure it was going in in 2018 and 2019 too. If they didn’t caught, they’d still be doing it."— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 15, 2020
K.Bryant think the Astros players should have been punished: “They got fined $5 million. You make that selling beer at the game.”— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 15, 2020
Bryant asked if he could ever see himself cheating like that: “That just feels so wrong. I play golf with my dad and I feel bad taking a one ft. gimme putt. "— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 15, 2020
Those are some of the strongest statements I’ve seen from any player on the scandal. We’ve also heard strong words in recent days from Cody Bellinger and Trevor Bauer, but Bryant’s words have more meaning because he is the Cubs’ player representative and active in MLB Players Association affairs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Astros’ attempt at an “apology” was embarrassing. Bryant is correct: If they hadn’t been caught, they likely would still be doing it, and the “apology” came across as “We’re sorry we got caught.”
It’s a stain on baseball that will take a long time to remove. And the Astros keep putting their collective feet in their mouths — check out this Ken Rosenthal interview with Carlos Correa. Yikes. The next thing any Astros player should say about the scandal is “no comment.”
Back to Bryant, who weighed in on his contract status:
Bryant on Boras: “Scott is the best at what he does. As much as people hate him, he really fights for you. You might be the worst baseball player ever but he’s going to tell you you’re the best.”— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 15, 2020
Theo said earlier in week he’s given Bryant no assurances amidst trade rumors. Bryant: “I would like one” at least for Opening Day. Would like to be more in the loop. He hasn’t sat down with the front office guys yet this spring. Just arrived to camp.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 15, 2020
Having seen that said, I still think Kris Bryant will be a Cub on Opening Day, and whether he is traded during the 2020 season depends on how the team is doing. If KB and the Cubs are doing well, I cannot see them dealing him. Out of contention at the trading deadline? Sure, at that point it’s probably the right thing to do.
A couple more fun quotes from Bryant, first regarding the Astros again:
BRyant: “I got booed in St. Louis. They're going to get it everywhere they go.”— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 15, 2020
Think of the way you hear Ryan Braun booed at Wrigley Field. Multiply that by about a factor of 10 and have it happen to every single player on the team and you’ll have an idea of what the Astros will be facing in road parks this year.
A couple more notes before I share some video from this morning’s camp. First, this is an update to my 2020 visitors guide to spring training. Have a look at this:
Now, that might look like just an empty lot to you, but in fact, it’s where the orange and yellow parking is — or was — on this map:
A developer is putting up 1.35 million square feet of office space and parking garages on that land. This means there will be less parking available on the Sloan Park site in 2020. In 2021, the Cubs will have dedicated space available in the parking garages, but if you are going this year I suggest you use my pro tip:
Both Tempe Marketplace and Mesa Riverview will let you park free on Cubs home game days in their huge parking lots and take you to and from Sloan Park on a free shuttle. Here’s info on the Tempe Marketplace shuttle and here’s the scoop on the trolley from Mesa Riverview.
You have undoubtedly heard of the TrackMan system, which teams use to help both hitters and pitchers. Here’s the TrackMan setup at Field 1 in the Cubs complex:
Now, here’s some video from Saturday’s sessions at Cubs camp. Unlike Wednesday, there was music playing at all the fields. In fact, at Field 2 where I saw pitchers bunting practice, it was pretty loud until a Cubs employee walked over and turned it down.
KB went from his news conference to the back fields to do some hitting. Several of his teammates joined him.
I also watched some pitcher fielding drills:
The really tall dude above is Trevor Megill, the Cubs’ Rule 5 pick from the Padres this past December. You’ll also notice Brandon Morrow in that group.
And this one was fun, and should be especially for those of you who still like to watch pitchers bat — pitcher bunting practice, with the pitchers not hitting rotating through the infield as fielders (incidentally, Wyatt Short, the first pitcher you see for the first 10 seconds of this video, is in fact, short. He’s listed at 5-8 — that might be generous):
I’ll be back at camp Monday, when the first official full-squad workout will take place.