The tributes made for emotional reactions, as you would expect on Kris Bryant’s return to Wrigley Field. I was glad that Bryant got this moment in the 2021 season, even as it was a reminder of everything that has happened, everything that didn’t happen, and everything that’s coming next.
The whole thing definitely had a “farewell” vibe to it, which is obviously sad, but should not be catching anyone off-guard at this point (Brett says, reminding himself through gritted teeth and blurry eyes). The Cubs re-signing Bryant in free agency was a long-shot, to put it mildly, and I do not expect serious offseason negotiations. You can feel about that however you want – hurt, angry, confused, etc. – but it became clear long ago that it was going to take a top-of-the-market deal to get something done, and it was likewise clear that the Cubs simply weren’t going to do that.
In other words, when an extension never came together, a separation after 2021 was an inevitability. It just came a few months earlier than expected. That does still make me sad, even if I can understand the Trade Deadline decisions. Endings are hard.
More of the emotional return and farewell:
For his part, Bryant is still being the good dude he always was, saying and doing the right things.
Kris Bryant, the homegrown star the Cubs tried to trade for years, looks back on his time in Chicago without any regrets: “This place is home to me. It always will be.” An emotional day at Wrigley Field still felt like The End. https://t.co/j8zQdsRbDu
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) September 11, 2021
“This place is home. It always will be.”https://t.co/xe8MpHBOfa
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) September 10, 2021
Here’s Kris Bryant pregame today, asked if there was any disappointment over not getting a chance to spend his whole career with the Cubs… pic.twitter.com/NyY1oDMvGI
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 10, 2021
The Bryant family also prepared some cookies for the folks who work at Wrigley Field, delivering them before the game yesterday, and perfectly summing up the genuine humility of one of the organization’s biggest stars:
Lots of emotions! pic.twitter.com/qzFPj5Nu5t
— Jeremiah Paprocki (@jtheannouncer) September 10, 2021
The Bryant family gave out hundreds of cookies to #Cubs employees yesterday. The gesture was really important to him and his wife.
“It’s easy to thank the people writing out your checks, but people behind the scenes here really make this place go.”pic.twitter.com/jf7n9c3TT9
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) September 11, 2021
“If you were to tell me when I got drafted that I would spend 6 1/2 years here, win a World Series and an MVP and Rookie of the Year, [go to] four All-Star games and [make] tons of great memories, I’d tell you, ‘You’re crazy. Is that really gonna happen to me?'” Bryant said. “And now I’m sitting here today and that actually did happen to me, for such an organization like the Chicago Cubs, playing at Wrigley Field every single day. That’s amazing.”