"You want him to feel comfortable, but you want to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible in a fun way," Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney said Saturday. "You have him introduce himself, and tell how much he signed for, just to hear it come out of his mouth.
"He's a great kid, very humble," Barney said of the third baseman, who won the Dick Howser trophy as the top college player in the country. "He had a good time yesterday and he's excited to get going. I was surprised at how big he was. I guess I'll just be shorter and shorter to everybody else."
Bryant, by the way, signed for $6.7 million, and he's 6-foot-5, while Barney is 5-foot-10.
When Bryant was introduced at his news conference, he was given a Cubs jersey with a No. 1 on the back. That's Cody Ransom's number. During the players' session, Ransom told the story about how actor Billy Crystal signed a one-day contract with the Yankees, and was given No. 1. Ransom was on the team, and gave up his number for the day. Crystal paid Ransom back with some nice gifts.
Naturally, Ransom expected Bryant to come through, and asked for a Rolex watch.
"Cody's like, 'Hey, he's wearing my number, he signed for a lot of money, he better give me something,'" Barney said.