MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant grew up in Las Vegas, which gets an average of four inches of rain per year, and zero inches of snow. Imagine his surprise at being in New York in January when the city was pummeled with two feet of snow."To see New York kind
MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant grew up in Las Vegas, which gets an average of four inches of rain per year, and zero inches of snow. Imagine his surprise at being in New York in January when the city was pummeled with two feet of snow.
"To see New York kind of shut down, and nobody on the streets, no cars, we just walked the streets, it was so cool," said Bryant, who was in New York City on Jan. 23 to receive the National League Rookie of the Year Award at the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner. Teammate Jake Arrieta also was there to be honored as the NL Cy Young Award winner.
"It was like a zombie land almost," Bryant said. "There was nobody there and so much snow -- I've never seen that much snow before. I've seen some, and I've been to Boston before and seen eight inches of snow, but that was 26 inches of snow."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was scheduled to attend the event as well, but his flight from Tampa Bay to New York that day was canceled because of the blizzard.
"The wind was blowing so hard, it looked like it was snowing up and it was doing that for hours and hours and hours," Arrieta said. "I've never seen that much snow. I've experienced much colder weather. I was in Chicago when it was minus-15 at the Cubs Convention two years ago. That was an eye opener, something I didn't know was a real thing."
Bryant and Arrieta received messages that the event was canceled, but 10 minutes later, it was back on again. MLB Network broadcast the show. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson put on his snow boots and walked several blocks to the dinner.
"There were still quite a bit of people there who made it," Bryant said. "There were a lot of families there. It was a bummer that Joe didn't make it."
"It was more of an intimate atmosphere," Arrieta said. "It was cool to see everyone get up there and say a few words about their season, their team.
"I had a more personal conversation with Josh Donaldson for the first time, who's an awesome dude. I was really glad to meet him and speak with him for the first time. Seeing Marcus Stroman get up there and speak -- he's a good role model for young kids. He's got a very positive message and you can tell he was raised well and had good parents."
It's very different when players can be themselves.
"It was nice to not have that intense competitive nature in between the lines and get to know these guys more personally and tell stories and listen, and start to develop some new relationships," Arrieta said.
So, with all the white stuff and New York to themselves, did Bryant and Arrieta do snow angels in Central Park? No, but Arrieta, who brought his best friends to the event, did wander out in the snow and saw hundreds of kids skiing and snowboarding. Both he and Bryant agreed it was nice to be in New York with no traffic on the streets.
"Everything that was going on, especially with the weather and the awards, and having my close friends there, it was extremely special, and something I'll remember vividly for a long time," Arrieta said. "I'd like to be there again at some point."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.