Kris Bryant, famously chill and careful with his words, started to show a sassier side back in Spring Training, arriving after an offseason that saw him ripped unfairly for a service time grievance that was simply part of the union’s efforts on behalf of all players.
More than the grievance, though, Bryant had increasingly become the target for attacks on his toughness, his production, his defense, and all kinds of things that kinda ignored how he actually performed for the Cubs over the last few years. No, he hasn’t been at his 2016-17 level, and yes, analysis of his performance is always fair game. But there have been large swaths of the fan base or talking-head media that just won’t accept anything Bryant does as “good enough” anymore.
Then you throw in a terrible and challenging and injury-filled 2020 season, and it was the perfect storm for too many people to go over-the-top.
So, on a night when he returned to the lineup from his latest malady, and wound up hitting a grand slam, Bryant really let it all hang out when asked about his critics on Twitter.
“I don’t give a shit. I really don’t. I’m kind of over it. I feel like sometimes I go out there and I could go 4-for-4 and it’s not good enough for some people. So: I. Don’t. Give. A. Shit. How about that?”
Yo. For Bryant, that’s really saying something. Heck, I’ll admit I kinda needed to see it to believe it – but, yeah, he really said it:
When you lose the game but win the division pic.twitter.com/zsjBejftbd
— Caden (@CadenGreco) September 27, 2020
It’s the attitude a player like Bryant needs to develop to best navigate these periods of time, and then to try to re-set his feet in 2021. Everyone knows that determining how to incorporate what happened this year into a player’s future projections and value is going to be extremely challenging, and Bryant is fortunate that he’ll have another shot at a platform season in 2021 before free agency (assuming he’s tendered a contract by the Cubs after this season, which remains extremely likely, despite the financial issues).
In the meantime, I hope Bryant genuinely continues to not give a shit – about his critics, about his numbers, about anything other than contributing to the Cubs this postseason. There can be no reasonable debate about it: when Bryant is physically right, he’s one of the most important players on this team. Can he get there, like a switch flipping, for a hot postseason run? Well, the history of the sport says it’s unlikely. But we also know that the sample we have this year is so small, and it’s never impossible that a guy who dealt with some nagging stuff and timing issues in the first third of his season figures some things out and turns his season around. We see that every year, actually. Now we just have to hope that Bryant’s latest time off was a turning point, just in time.
Then we can see more of this at the most important part of the year:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 27, 2020
Not unlike dropping a mild curse word in his post-game, seeing Bryant carry his bat like that half-way to first? That’s about as wild as you’ll see him get. I love it.