Kris Bryant homered for the first time since his Giants debut, and his new team keeps on winning, now with a four-game lead in the NL West. It’s no surprise that he’s happy in his new situation, and I continue to wish him well.
That said, he dropped some comments after the latest win that merit a little attention. This is a bit of a thorny one, because if this were any other player in any other situation, I would immediately have a really bad gut reaction to the following quotes from Bryant. But I highly doubt Bryant, who has always been kind, thoughtful, and a great teammate, means this to come off quite as antagonistic toward his former teammates.
Still, Bryant said what he said, and it’s pretty important to share as context not only for his happiness now being with the Giants, but also maybe some unhappiness with the Cubs. This came after Bryant was asked about being involved in extension conversations with the Giants, if it came to that:
Kris Bryant is loving his time with the Giants pic.twitter.com/Js9XkIoGe2
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 17, 2021
For those who can’t watch the video, here is Bryant’s quote:
“I know it’s all super new to me,” Bryant said, “the whole being here and playing with these guys, but there’s just something that feels a little different about it. It feels right. They’re just really good people. They put their head down, they go to work, they’re not flashy, and I kind of see myself as that type of player, too. And I think that’s kind of what the Giants organization is all about. They want guys that are good people that go to work, keep their head down. Like I said, we’re not flashy, we go out there and do the job and win and move on to the next one, and that’s a good feeling.”
At a very superficial level, it’s the kind of conversation that has been had around baseball for decades now. Some people like their baseball “workman-like,” and some people like their baseball bold and bright and loud. Me? I like to see the latter, but it also never bothered me that Bryant, for example, wasn’t about it. He could play the game however felt right to him, and his teammates could play the game however felt right to them. I enjoy it when people are being their authentic selves out there. That’s all.
Now then, there’s a flip side here, because Bryant was drawing a contrast. We can’t help but set the comments up against the only other big league place Bryant has played, where he certainly had some teammates who played with what I believe he means by flash. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in Bryant’s view, it sounds like he prefers it not to be that way, and maybe thinks it shouldn’t be that way? The whole quote just doesn’t sit well with me at a gut level.
Still, I have a really hard time believing Bryant means that whole quote in the worst possible way. Maybe I’m naive, but I tend to think Bryant was simply talking about himself – how he plays the game – and how he likes to be around people who are more “head down” like he is. Fine. We’ve known that about him for years. It was, at times, boring. But the guy was such a dang good player that it was still a joy to watch.
I just don’t mind a little flash, too, if that’s what a player is into. Javy Báez? My favorite player to watch play baseball. Willson Contreras? I love his energy. Anthony Rizzo? When he gets loud, he gets LOUD. I have loved watching those guys play baseball. Maybe Bryant didn’t. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive because of the complicated interweaving of emotions over the past seven years and the past three weeks.
Anyway, not that it is any kind of surprise at this point, but you can bet the Giants will be working hard to extend Bryant, and he will be receptive to those talks. A reunion with the Cubs was never likely, and meaningful extension talks with the Cubs ceased a long time ago.