WASHINGTON — The images from Las Vegas haunted Cubs superstar Kris Bryant, who couldn’t just stick to sports this October or feel numb to another mass shooting. This became personal for Bryant on Sunday night, trying to get information on the massacre at a country music festival that killed at least 59 people and wounded hundreds and hundreds more.
“It broke my heart,” Bryant said. “It’s been scary, watching the news and watching the numbers rise. You never think it’s going to happen to anywhere you’re from, or where you live, and then it does.
“I was up all night. Thankfully, the people who were there that we knew got back to us really quick, so we weren’t waiting up. I couldn’t imagine some of those people and the fear they had and the parents waiting to hear from loved ones.”
The Las Vegas angle to this best-of-five series was supposed to be how that city produced the last two National League MVPs after Bryant grew up playing with and against Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper. But a horrific event like this puts playoff pressure in perspective for Bryant, who revealed that his wife’s brother’s fiancée was in the middle of the attack.
“My soon-to-be sister-in-law was there and running right with the crowd,” Bryant said. “A lot of friends (were there). I’ve heard a lot of stories about some friends who thankfully weren’t hurt. So many people were hurt, and it’s sad to think that some people’s kids and parents and uncles aren’t going to be there anymore. It’s just sad.”
Bryant fully accepts his role as an ambassador for Major League Baseball, standing in one corner of the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park on Thursday and answering waves of questions from reporters. He’s spoken with Harper and wants to do something more for Las Vegas after taping a public-service announcement and noticing the six-hour waits to donate blood. He understands there’s so much more to his hometown than just The Strip.
“We play baseball for a living, but there’s way more important things,” Bryant said. “It’s been really touching to see the community come together like that. The response from everybody — people want to help and they have way too much blood being donated. It’s unbelievable to see people come together when we need it.”