In many ways, Friday was a familiar sight for Cubs fans.
Kris Bryant started in left field and hit fifth. When he stepped into the batter’s box in the first inning — to a nice ovation from Cubs fans — “Warm it Up” by Kris Kross blared over the Wrigley Field sound system.
Except, Bryant was wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform, squaring off against longtime teammate and Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks.
“It’s definitely strange,” Hendricks said. “Luckily, we've been able to see him in that uniform for about a month now, at least. You're kind of getting used to it slowly.”
Friday was Bryant’s first game at Wrigley and against the Cubs overall since they traded him to the Giants at the July 30 deadline.
They may be getting used to seeing him in a new uniform, but it may always be at least a little strange.
“He wore these pinstripes for so long, man,” Hendricks said. “Always going to see him in [a Cubs] uniform, so it was weird when he came to the plate a little bit. Just had to lock back in and focus on my task.”
Friday was hardly an ordinary afternoon at Wrigley, with a former franchise cornerstone in the opposing dugout, and fanfare naturally following.
Hendricks was warming up pregame when the Cubs played a three-minute Bryant tribute on the left field video board.
Bryant walked out behind home plate to a standing ovation from Cubs fans, where he posed for photos with team chairman Tom Ricketts, president of business operations Crane Kenney and senior vice president of player personnel Jason McLeod.
They presented Bryant with gifts — a 2016 flag and a panel from the historic center field scoreboard.
“It was good seeing him back at Wrigley,” acting Cubs manager Andy Green said. “It’s where he belongs. Everybody here loves him, obviously. It was a good reception for him.”
Bryant received warm receptions from Cubs fans every time he stepped to the plate.
“To hear the reaction from the fans and then him coming up really every at-bat,” Hendricks said, “especially that first one, the ovation from the crowd, was just a really cool moment.
“He deserves all that. I know he was probably going through a lot today, a lot of different emotions. Really good to see how he was received and to get through that.”
Hendricks was able to lock in and focus despite all the hoopla. He tossed six innings, allowing one run on four hits. Bryant went 0-for-3 against him with a pair of strikeouts.
“If you miss, if you make mistakes on him, that's where he's going to hurt you,” Hendricks said. “Luckily, I was able to execute and kept it moving.
“He really crushes mistakes, and I think he's probably looking to do something pretty special while he's here. We were trying to keep him from doing that.”
Bryant drew a walk after Hendricks exited and then scored, helping the Giants win 6-1.
He has two more games this weekend to provide Cubs fans with at least one more special moment this season.
“He’s a guy that I really appreciate,” Green said, “and my level of appreciation is probably dwarfed by other people’s level, because they’ve watched him a lot longer than I have, and they’ve been around him for such a long time.
“I was glad he got the reception he got. I would have liked to keep him from getting a win today, but it was good to see him back.”