Friday, Kris Bryant played a game in Wrigley Field for the first time in a uniform that wasn't the Cubs' pinstripes. He returned as a member of the Giants, who he's been with since being traded to San Francisco on July 30 as part of a major Cubs' deadline selloff.
Before the game, the Cubs played a tribute to Bryant on the main videoboard:
Bryant could be seen in his Giants uniform wiping tears away from his eyes on the field before the game as the Cubs honored him.
Then it was game time. Bryant was slotted in the five-hole against former longtime teammate Kyle Hendricks, who started the clinching games of the 2016 NLCS and World Series. Bryant got the expected standing ovation from the home crowd while also being treated to his old Wrigley walk-up music, "Warm it up," by Kris Kross:
Bryant would end up striking out against Hendricks on a vintage bottom-drops-out changeup.
Bryant said it was weird facing his old 'mates, even if many of them were gone.
"I spent a lot of years playing with a lot of those guys," Bryant told reporters (including Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago) before the game. "Coming through the right field fence here [the visitor's entrance], I'd never even set foot on that side of the concourse, so I was lost. I had no clue where I was going. All these cameras were in my face, so I tried to play it off like I knew was I was doing. It's still so new, sitting in another dugout, in a different uniform and actually facing the guys I played with for so long."
Bryant also was tasked with playing left field and he seemed happy about that before the game.
"I'm not the best at soaking up big moments, but I hope that I can find a way to take it all in," said Bryant (via Jordan Bastian of mlb.com). "I'm in left field, I'm super-pumped about that. It's going to be nice to run out there and listen to the fans all game. Before I got traded it was really fun to hear them nonstop talking to me out there and I'm looking forward to that today."
Bryant, 29, was drafted second overall by the Cubs in 2013 and quickly ascended toward the top of the group of players that were the next new hope in Wrigleyville. He debuted to great fanfare in 2015 and didn't disappoint, winning NL Rookie of the Year honors. He won NL MVP in 2016 and was one of the anchors of the team that won the World Series that same year.
In Bryant's first six seasons with the Cubs, they won the NL Central three times, went to the NLCS three times and made the playoffs five times.
Looping in before he was traded this season, Bryant hit .279/.378/.508 (133 OPS+) with 865 hits, 191 doubles, 19 triples, 160 homers, 465 RBI, 564 runs, 27.6 WAR and four All-Star Games in parts of seven seasons for the Cubs.