There are times in life when you just know what’s going to happen next.
Case in point: Way back in 1995, the Michael Jordan era appeared to be a thing of the past. Jordan had returned to basketball, after that baseball detour had played itself out, and the Bulls were knocked out of the NBA playoffs in his first year back. But the Bulls then went out and got Dennis Rodman, who was the best rebounder in the game at that time. On the day the deal was done, I knew there was going to be no stopping the Bulls, and the 72-10 they put up that season — which is the equivalent of a baseball team winning 142 games in a single season — set a record that hasn’t been approached since.
Uh, isn’t this a baseball page?
Yes, I know it is, so I’ll share the only other time I remember being certain of what the future would hold. When Madison Bumgarner walked out of the bullpen in Kansas City and took the mound in game seven of the World Series last Fall, I knew the Royals were finished. The way MadBum had been pitching in the postseason, it was clear that the Giants were going to win another title. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
I have a similar moment of clarity today, with the word that the Cubs are calling up Kris Bryant to the big leagues. It’s overdue, as I thought he deserved to have his first big league experience last fall. The guardians of his service clock carried the day, however, and Cubs fans had to endure a week and a half of scant offensive production at third base. But that’s all over now and I, for one, couldn’t be any happier.
Kris Bryant will give the Cubs a shot of life. He’ll bring the team a jolt in the way that Mike Olt never did, and probably never could. He might not be the Rookie of the Year this year, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was.
Today I feel like a kid on Christmas morning (and I resisted the urge to spell the holiday with a “K,” although I did think about doing it). This is a lot of pressure to put on a young guy, and I’m probably stating this in a way that’s too strong for many Cubs fans. So be it. He’s thought about this moment for many years, and now the moment is here. We’ll find out if he’s able to seize it, and I think he will.
In the words of an old children’s song, if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. There’s going to be lots of clapping for the Cubs and Kris Bryant this summer, which will continue all the way into the postseason. The wait is over, at long last.