The Rundown: Kris Bryant’s Perfection, Dallas Green’s Passing

Mike Bryant is not a shy man, quick to explain and defend the methods he’s employed in engineering a swing that has resulted in awards at every level of the game. But compliment his son’s humility in the face of a growing swell of accolades and the proud papa will tell you that’s just Kris being himself.

Being himself has landed Kris Bryant on billboards, murals, and the pages of fashion mags, even the coveted No. 1 card in the 2017 Topps baseball card series. And now he’s the feature of a Sports Illustrated cover story that paints him as nothing less than a real-life Prince Charming who’d be too good to be true if we weren’t seeing the story unfold before us.

The face that launched a long-awaited championship bought his dad an indoor performance center with the money from his signing bonus, married his high school sweetheart, and is more or less a homebody who just loves to play ball. Bryant is totally vanilla, but in the best possible way, like Breyer’s ice cream with the little bits of actual vanilla bean in it. Yum.

One of my first thoughts upon reading Tom Verducci’s piece was: Damn, this dude (Dooch, that is) is so good and I’m jealous of his writing. And his hair.

That thought was immediately followed by: Holy crap, this has a lot of the same details we got on how Bryant developed his swing, stuff that hasn’t been seen anywhere else.

Of course, our interview with the elder Bryant featured even more information about the specifics of what the reigning MVP changed in college and what he’s looking to do heading into this season. Rather than simply patting ourselves on the back, however, I’m happy to see Mike getting even more validation, even vindication, from a publication with a slightly larger reach.

Yes, believe it or not, CI is bigger than SI.

Former Cubs GM Dallas Green dies

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer delivered Cubs fans the title they had been wanting for so long, but the architect of a team that cemented the fandom of so many in my generation was Dallas Green. An outspoken and sometimes abrasive character, Green was responsible for putting together the 1984 NL East champs that gave the organization its first postseason berth since 1945.

Tom Ricketts released the following statement on the passing of the former exec, who died Wednesday at the age of 82:

“Dallas Green had an eye for talent. Our fans can credit him for acquiring and drafting several of the most accomplished players to wear a Cubs uniform, including Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg, as well as All-Stars like Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace and Rick Sutcliffe,” said Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. “Green was not afraid to make bold moves in pursuit of winning, and in 1984, led the Cubs to their first postseason appearance since the 1945 World Series. He will forever hold a meaningful place in Chicago Cubs history. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as we mourn his passing.”

That ’84 team was really the first I can really remember (I wrote about its construction and my appreciation for it three years ago, if you’re interested), ethereal as those memories may be at this point. But so many of the names above were mainstays beyond that season, giving many of us hope and happiness in spite of what weren’t always great results.

Godspeed, Mr. Green, may you never again have to threaten to move a team out to the ‘burbs.


More news and notes

  • The US defeated Puerto Rico in a walkover, 8-0, to capture the WBC crown
    • There were over 51,000 in attendance for the final
    • MLB may have finally gotten some good ideas on how to market the game
  • After talking about how the US plays the game the right way, Ian Kinsler was exposed as a hypocrite when he hit a home run to left.
    • Okay, that was a bad joke
    • Upon further review, I’m not sure Kinsler’s comments were quite as dog-whistle-y as I’d first thought
    • Maybe that make it more dog-whistle-y?
  • Per Statcast, Kyle Hendricks has MLB’s fourth-highest curveball spin rate
    • Stat is too new to provide definitive conclusions
    • We do know that Hendricks wants to use the curve more this season
  • Former Cub David DeJesus announced both his retirement from baseball and his new gig as a studio analyst for CSN Chicago
    • He’ll replace Todd Hollandsworth as David Kaplan’s on-air partner
    • Many fans are probably more excited for Kim DeJesus’s return; and for her tweets about personal grooming
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