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Chicago Cubs honor Kris Bryant with video tribute for his return to Wrigley with San Francisco Giants

A video tribute, a # 17 tile from the scoreboard, and two standing ovations were part of Kris Bryant’s day when he returned to Wrigley Field for the first time since his July swap from the Chicago Cubs to the San Francisco Giants on Friday.

“I’ve never set foot in this [visitors] Side of the hall, “said Bryant, laughing in the dugout before the game.” I was lost. I had no idea where I was going. “

Bryant, 29, seemed destined to become a career cub after winning minor league player of the year, rookie of the year, and league MVP over three seasons from 2014 to 2016. A long-term contract never came about but was traded to the Giants for prospects just a few months before they first met the free agency.

Kris Bryant of San Francisco hands his cap to Chicago Cubs fans, which gave him several standing ovations on Friday, his first appearance at Wrigley Field since joining the Giants in July. AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh

“I got the thought, ‘Yeah, it would be super cool to play for a team in my career,'” said Bryant, number 2 in the 2013 amateur draft. “I had these thoughts but didn’t think about when it was will end. I never had these thoughts.

“I made a decision to look back at my time here and smile at it. There have been some tougher times, but if you told me when I got drafted, I’d be here 6.5 years and have a World Series and an MVP to win.” and Rookie of the Year and four all-star games and loads of great memories, I would tell you you were crazy.

“Now I’m sitting here today and it actually happened to me.”

Bryant was visibly emotional during a pre-game video tribute when he received his first standing ovation. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was among those in attendance at the ceremony. Team President Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross were absent as they isolate themselves after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

“I’m not the best at soaking up big moments,” said Bryant. “But I hope I can find a way to really absorb everything. Today I’m in the left field. I’m really pumped for that. It will be nice to run out there and listen to the fans the whole game.”

Bryant received his second standing ovation when he hit the record with two ons and two outs in the first inning against former teammate Kyle Hendricks. He hit three pitches.

Bryant’s morning started with a large crowd waiting for him as the Giants bus pulled up on the visitor side of Wrigley Field. He compared it to fans waiting for the team when the Cubs returned home from Cleveland in the early hours of the morning after winning the 2016 World Series.

Bryant said he’ll try to capture the special moments of the three-game series every day, and despite some ups and downs towards the end of his Cubs career – he left Twitter for a while and his contract became a talking point – he doesn’t have any negative feelings about his time in Chicago. But on the contrary.

“Yes, you can be pissed off with the way certain situations are dealt with, but I basically had to wear the Cubs uniform whenever I wanted,” he said. “It’s so special. Not many people can do it. And a lot of money is paid for it. I have great respect for every person in this organization, and it always will be.”

Most of all, Bryant is grateful to have played on winning teams every year of his career – the Giants are no exception. He didn’t close the door when reporting back to them or returning to the Cubs through vacant agency, although the latter idea is far-fetched.

The Cubs and Bryant haven’t had meaningful contract talks in several seasons. Now that the other 29 teams can bid on his services, a return to Chicago would be a shocking turn of events.

“I didn’t answer any trade questions [anymore]but there are many other questions of the same kind, “said Bryant of his future.” I never close the book on this place.

Whatever happens, Bryant’s time in Chicago will be fondly remembered as he was part of a team that broke the longest championship drought in American sports history.

“Being part of the winning teams from the moment I arrive means a lot to me,” said Bryant. “All I have ever seen playing for the Cubs is to be won.

“This place is my home. It always will be.”

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