The Rundown: Bryant Grinding Back, Cubs Rings Have 108 Diamonds, Happ White Hot

Remember when Kris Bryant went 0-for-14 to open the season, breaking the record held by Ryne Sandberg for longest hitless streak to open a reigning MVP season? Remember how people were actually freaking out about it a little bit? About results from roughly 2 percent of his eventual at-bats.

So what did Bryant do? He picked up an infield hit off the bag at third to stop the slide. Then he dinked and dunked his way to a 3-for-6 evening in Milwaukee on Saturday, following it up with a 3-for-4 performance Sunday afternoon in which he reached base in his first four at-bats. That’s, uh, that’s pretty good. It’s also common sense, as expressed in the text I got from a friend Sunday morning.

Here are some words of wisdom for those who have an insatiable appetite for understanding this incredible game. What if…a hitter went 1-3 with a BB every single game and every fourth game he hit a home run? Numbers at the end of the year = .333  40 HR a s***load of RBI! Boring? Instead he mixes in four 5-5 games – three 4-5 games – a dozen 2-4 games – and a dozen 2-5 games. A few 3-24 and a few 1-16 and one 6-33 into the mix. Results: .292 39 HR 102 RBI. Spell MVP for me! People need to chill a bit and have an Old Style!

Cubs fans are indeed going to get the chance to do the latter tonight as Bryant and his teammates play before a home crowd for the first time as World Series champs. Well, for the first time at Wrigley, given the obviously pro-Cubs vibe north of the Cheddar Curtain.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bling

Remember when people accused Tom Ricketts of being cheap, of choosing not to spend on payroll because Wrigley always sells out anyway? It was an egregiously bad take at the time and its ignorance has been further exposed by the glaring light of success.

Between an academy in the Dominican, a sprawling complex in Mesa, half a billion in ballpark renovations and nearby commercial developments, and an overall payroll that includes what is probably the highest-paid front office in baseball, no one’s accusing the Cubs owner of being a skinflint any longer. But just in case there were a few remaining holdouts, this next bit should clear things up.

That’s more ice than Chiberia. Maybe even a Cash Money Millionaires album cover.

You’ll have to wait for Wednesday to see the Cubs handed their rings by 20 winners of the Ring Bearer contest, but you’ll get to see them raise some banners prior to Monday’s home opener. The most important of those, of course, is the World Series banner that we recently got a sneak peak of.

Ian Happ is a video game character

Remember when people were worried about Happ’s ability to excel against AA pitching? And they thought he might be exposed given everyday at-bats against guys doing more than just pumping Spring Training fastballs? Okay, there were probably more folks who wanted the prospect to make the 25-man roster, but I’ve got a theme to follow here.

I’ll admit I was a little surprised when Happ was assigned to AAA, but the jump hasn’t slowed him down a bit. In fact, he may have actually mashed the accelerator on what was already a blazing fast start to 2017.

In the games following a debut in which he went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk, the versatile prospect has gone 3-for-12 with 3 strikeouts and a walk. Wait, that’s not very exciting. Oh, what’s that? Every one of the hits was a home run? One in each of three consecutive games? And no cheapies? Holy cow.

Check out the first, second, and third home runs and tell me this kid isn’t a major leaguer. I still maintain that he’ll be so with another team, but I will gladly be wrong about that.

More news and notes

  • Former Cub Jason Motte signed a minor league deal with the Braves
  • Former Cub Joe Nathan signed a minor league deal with the Nats after opting out of a previous MiLB deal with them
  • Strap yourselves in, because CI’s gonna have a lot of stuff today
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