Technology sure is neat.
Friday, Cubs All-Stars Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo were noticably absent from the opening ceremonies of Cubs Convention. As two of the team's premier players, fans surely felt their absences at the annual event.
Thanks to the power of FaceTime, though, both Lester and Rizzo were able to "appear" at the convention on Saturday. Kris Bryant called Rizzo while on stage during a panel, while Lester appeared at a side station. Check it out:
Lester has been golfing in Florida this week (with good friend John Lackey, one might add). Rizzo recently got married, but it is unclear if his absence is honeymoon related or not.
As far as Cubs fans are concerned, Kris Bryant is saying and doing all the right things in advance of what may be a major bounceback season for the former NL MVP.
Bryant assured everybody his shoulder is feeling great Friday evening and he's shown his standard one-handed finish in offseason workout videos.
Bryant also managed to piss off Cardinals Nation, much to the delight of Cubs fans.
Bryant was a guest on Ryan Dempster's talk show Friday night at the Sheraton Grand Chicago and the topic of Bryce Harper came up (of course) along with Nelly, whom the two baseball superstars were photographed with over the winter.
As Harper continues his free agent tour, Nelly apparently tried to pitch the superstar on St. Louis, the hometown of the rapper.
Fans booed when Bryant reminded everybody Nelly is a diehard Cardinals fan.
"Yeah, boo," Bryant said. "He was trying to work the magic on Bryce. Who would want to play in St. Louis? Boring. So boring.
"I always get asked, 'Where would you like to play? Where would you not like to play?' St. Louis is on the list of places I don't like to play. It is rough."
Cubs fans absolutely loved it, of course, but those comments are not going over well in the shadow of the arch:
BREAKING: Cardinals fans not upset at all that Bryant said St. Louis was boring, and there's many reason why he said this. pic.twitter.com/PKJyIQqcgv— Baseball's Best Fans (@BestFansStLouis) January 19, 2019
Kris Bryant's shoulder must be fine -- because #Cubs 3B came out swinging against St. Louis, egged on by Ryan Dempster. @Ben_Fred has the details of Bryant's "boring" take on the city to the south: https://t.co/ppAz94YTGq #Cardinals #stlcards #MLB— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) January 19, 2019
Even Cardinals reliever John Brebbia apparently took exception to Bryant's comments, reportedly calling the Cubs slugger a "loser" at their own fan convention over the weekend:
John Brebbia on the Kris Bryant comments: “cry me a River, loser.”#stlcards— Rodney (@KnuppelRodney) January 19, 2019
In addition to Brebbia's comment, Yadier Molina weighed in on Instagram, indirectly calling Bryant and Dempster "stupid players" and said they should have more respect:
All stars, elite players and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city. There should be respect and you should play and compete with respect... only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by bryant and dempster ..
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All stars, elite players and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city. There should be respect and you should play and compete with respect... only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by bryant and dempster .. #ceroRespectforthisstupidplayers #QuevivaStlouis #LOVESTL
Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna responded to Molina's Instagram, saying, "From outside they speak and talk like tiger but at the end they gonna be like little cat."
"From outside they speak and talk like tiger but at the end they gonna be like little cat." -- Marcell Ozuna waxes poetic about #Cubs while making a comment on Yadier Molina's Instagram blast toward Kris Bryant, et. al. https://t.co/JZpZDfgUuD #stlcards #Cardinals #WWU— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) January 19, 2019
Daniel Descalso is the only main addition to the Cubs this winter, but he's also a guy who came up with the Cardinals and spent the first 5 years of his career in St. Louis. But now he's on the North Side of the rivalry and when asked Saturday afternoon which fan convention is better - Cubs or Cardinals - Descalso didn't miss a beat and said "this one." (Then again, what else is he supposed to say??)
The NL Central already promised to be one of the most interesting divisions in baseball in 2019. The Cubs-Brewers rivalry (or not, if you ask Cole Hamels) took center stage last year, but Cubs-Cardinals may be getting the fire back if this early trash talk is any indication.