The Rundown: Headline Spurs Love for Bryant, Happ Says Lester Makes Nats’ Rotation Dangerous, Red Sox Punting 2021
“I came, I saw, and you won’t believe what happened next!” – Julius Caesar, were he interpreted by some of today’s media.
Twitter was ablaze yesterday and poor old Jesse Rogers of ESPN paid the price. Alas, the pen may be mightier than the sword but nothing is as blunt as a deliberate headline. When an athlete who rarely uses social media takes to a platform to call out the author, it’s apparent that liberties have been taken and that context has been surreptitiously manipulated.
Must be a slow news day to take something genuine and turn it into something out of context. Do better @espn #clickbait https://t.co/sdV5id3bfV
— Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23) January 21, 2021
Kris Bryant got a little emo during a recent interview with Barstool Sports Chicago and I suppose if any professional athlete should be allowed a genuine confession, it’s the slugging third baseman. Bryant has had a rough go with fan perception ever since he questioned the Cubs for allegedly manipulating his service time as a rookie in 2015, and Rogers leveraged that negative attention to entice readers.
Coming off a piss-poor season in which the former MVP and Rookie of the Year could manage just 11 RBI in 34 games has left Bryant vulnerable to distorted assumptions. A headline such as the one Rogers used certainly feeds that beast, and it shouldn’t.
It’s fair to wonder at times if Bryant secretly harbors a desire to be traded to a club whose fanbase may better appreciate him. With more and more of his ex-teammates heading to Washington D.C., perhaps Nationals GM Mike Rizzo can find a spot for the beleaguered third sacker. It shouldn’t be too costly a move for the Nats, as Jed Hoyer is reportedly willing to sell his short-term assets for pennies on the dollar.
Then again, maybe the Phillies might be interested in reuniting Bryant with best friend Bryce Harper, since the Cubs couldn’t make that happen two winters ago when Harper was a free agent. New Mets owner Steve Cohen recently lost his bid to sign outfielder George Springer, so maybe acquiring Bryant is something he’d consider. It’s sad to think that another mainstay from the 2016 championship team might leave town and it seems downright dismal that a growing faction of Chicago’s fans would love to see Hoyer jettison Bryant rather than re-sign him.
This what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude is typically reserved for Bears starting quarterbacks and whoever has coached the Bulls since Phil Jackson left. It’s something relatively new to the North Side, where fans have traditionally loved their superstars even during off years. My goodness, Gary Gaetti got more love in his two seasons with the Cubs than Bryant has enjoyed in his six seasons here, and Gaetti was an ex-Cardinal. In case you’ve forgotten, the Cubs have had very few All-Star third basemen in the history of their franchise and Bryant’s one of them.
The media tends to be somewhat of a stooge for team ownership at times, especially if it draws readers. Though Rogers has been outspoken at times regarding the Ricketts family, many saw this latest piece as fanning the flames of vitriol directed toward an established veteran who has already seen more than his fair share of pushback. The scribe strenuously defended himself on Twitter, defending the piece as agnostic as fans rallied behind Bryant for the most part. P
Perhaps a little show of love will prevent Bryant, who has professed his love for Chicago, from seeking greener pastures elsewhere.
Cubs News & Notes
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch took the story by Rogers about Bryant and made it even more farcical. It’s like a baseball reporting version of the telephone game.
- Baseball Prospectus included four Cubs minor leaguers in their annual BP 101, including last year’s first round draft pick, Ed Howard IV. Brailyn Márquez, Brennen Davis, and Miguel Amaya were also included.
- Though Jon Lester legitimized the Cubs under Theo Epstein and made Chicago one of baseball’s preferred destinations, ownership figuratively turned its back on the veteran lefty by letting him go to the Nationals.
- David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago took it a step further, basically calling the organization an embarrassment for not reaching a deal with Lester.
- Anthony Rizzo was named the game’s sixth-best first baseman by the MLB Network.
- Ian Happ did something wonderful to lift the spirits of an 18-year-old kid battling brain cancer.
- Happ hosted Kyle Schwarber on his most recent podcast and indicated that the Lester signing was a bit of a coup for the Nationals, considering the strength of Washington’s rotation before they signed the lefty.
- If the Cubs are going to make any impactful moves in free agency, Chris Archer and Taijuan Walker look like the likeliest candidates to fill out the team’s starting rotation.
Odds & Sods
Bernie Sanders is getting more press for his inauguration day fashion choices than he did when he ran as the potential Democratic nominee.
I keep going because it’s getting a good laugh. pic.twitter.com/3KgCvQGe3F
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) January 22, 2021
The Red Sox have publicly stated that they’re basically punting the 2021 season. At least they’re not misleading their fans.
Now that the Astros have signed Michael Brantley, they could use a complimentary center fielder like Jackie Bradley Jr.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge believes spring training will start on time and is looking forward to a more normalized training camp.
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson believes his team will enter 2021 eager to build on its success from last year.
Anderson has emerged as an elite player the last two seasons, and is still getting better.
Sliding Into Home
I texted Scott Randall’s wife this week and asked her if any of our readers can make a charitable donation in Scott’s name. Peg suggested an organization called Jumpstart since her husband was active in prison ministry. There are also ways to get involved if you cannot afford to make a monetary donation.
I ordered Peg a Cubs jersey with the name Crandall across the back and number 31 (Scott’s CI handle was Twins31s in honor of Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux). Please use PayPal if you would like to contribute and leave a note there or in the comments below if you would like me to relay that as well. I chose the PayPal address in honor of Scott.
Davis could be one of the game’s faster rising prospects this year.
#Cubs Brennen Davis
6’4 – 175 lbs
-Quick, compact swing
-Fast hands/ bat
-Not a lot of loft. Should allow for good contact through the zone
-Swing should help cut down on holes in the zone w/ his size
-Frame should fill out more
Really like what I see!
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) January 18, 2021
They Said It
- “I thought we really had a chance to get [Bryce Harper]. I kinda forget the situation, exactly who we signed or whatever, but he really loves Chicago. He loves coming to the city, eating there. I mean, who doesn’t like coming to Chicago? I’m kinda bummed out that we missed out on that opportunity.” – Kris Bryant
- “Jon Lester in the four or five spot in the rotation is dangerous. I’ll take that any day of the week.” – Ian Happ
Friday Walk Up Song
Never Meant by American Football – Nothing evokes Midwest poignancy like this emo classic.