Cubs

Kris Bryant hasn't gotten used to his Express billboards yet

Kris Bryant hasn't gotten used to his Express billboards yet

Kris Bryant has been on billboards since before he even made his big-league debut, but the Cubs slugger still hasn't gotten used to seeing his face around Chicago.

Instead of those "Worth the Wait" Adidas billboards, Bryant is now the face of Express and his image is plastered all around town in nice suits and sweet shades.

The 24-year-old has been tabbed as one of the fresh faces of baseball, but it's not like he's seeking out the attention. This is still the same kid who insisted on being treated like everybody else after all the hype preceding his first MLB game.

Bryant joked he shields his eyes when he sees a billboard, but his Cubs teammates love it, taking selfies with a giant Bryant in the background.

"I guess that's one of the things that come along with it," Bryant said. "I never in a million years would have thought that [I'd see my face on billboards]. I'm having a lot of fun with it. I know these guys [are, too].

"They don't give me a hard time. They just show me the selfies with me in it. It's all in good fun."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon - who stars in Binny's commercials in the Chicagoland area, among other marketing ventures - lets his players just be themselves, even if that means in unconvetional ways (how many other professional sports teams could produce an Express model and underwear model?).

Maddon said he's seeing Bryant everwhere driving to the ballpark every day and plans to take - and share - a selfie in front of Bryant's ad.

With the young core, Wrigley Field's renovations and hype as the World Series favorites, the Cubs aren't just selling themselves to free agents, but the entire baseball fanbase.

"[Anthony Rizzo's] got his cereal now. Jake [Arrieta] has his underwear deal," Bryant said. "This is a unique group of people. All that stuff just plays into what we do on the field, I think."

Bryant has a point. This Cubs team has become so marketable, they're almost like the second coming of the Bears 1985 Super Bowl team for Chicago in terms of marketability. 

All that's missing is a "World Series Shuffle," right?

Sports Talk Live podcast: Are the Cubs hitting their stride?

Sports Talk Live podcast: Are the Cubs hitting their stride?

On this week's Sports Talk Live podcast, Hub Arkush and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.  The Cubs finally get an off day after 30 straight days of baseball.  Despite a blowout loss in Arizona, are they hitting their stride at the right time?  The guys look ahead to Bears/Cardinals and talk about the state of Matt Nagy’s offense. Plus Chuck Garfien drops by to discuss Hawk Harrelson’s final broadcast, Jose Quintana and car analogies. You can listen to the entire thing right here, or in the embeded player below: 

Cubs Talk Podcast: Answering your burning Cubs questions

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Answering your burning Cubs questions

Is Joe Maddon the NL Manager of the Year? Is Javy Báez the NL MVP? Who makes the postseason roster out of David Bote, Tommy La Stella, Ian Happ and Terrance Gore? Will Dillon Maples carve out a role in the October bullpen?

Our Cubs crew (David Kaplan, Tony Andracki and Jeff Nelson) address these topics and more in the latest Cubs Talk Podcast with only 10 days remaining in the regular season.

Listen to the full podcast episode here or via the embedded player below: