MESA, Ariz. -- It did not take long for Kris Bryant's comments inside a packed Sheraton Grand Chicago last month to make their way to St. Louis. His audience of blue-and-white-clad Cubs fans was laughing and cheering, but the Cardinals players who caught wind of his remarks most certainly were
MESA, Ariz. -- It did not take long for Kris Bryant's comments inside a packed Sheraton Grand Chicago last month to make their way to St. Louis. His audience of blue-and-white-clad Cubs fans was laughing and cheering, but the Cardinals players who caught wind of his remarks most certainly were not.
On Monday, when Bryant held court with reporters prior to the Cubs' first full-squad workout of Spring Training, he was able to laugh at the "boring" controversy that riled up one of baseball's best rivalries. Chicago's star third baseman emphasized that his comments about St. Louis were aimed at firing up Cubs fans and he is willing to clear the air with Yadier Molina, if the Cardinals catcher feels that is necessary.
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"If he's willing to," Bryant said. "I don't think I said anything wrong. I'm not taking anything back. It was just kind of I think things were taken out of context a little bit."
The context is that Bryant was a guest on stage with former Cubs pitcher and current broadcaster Ryan Dempster, whose late-night comedy show has become a staple at Cubs Convention. During their chat, Dempster mentioned that Bryant met rapper Nelly while attending a Florida Georgia Line concert in Las Vegas, where the third baseman and his friend, Bryce Harper, live in the offseason.
"He's a big Cardinals fan," Bryant said on stage of Nelly.
The crowd of Cubs fans predictably erupted in boos, and Bryant joined them before continuing with his story.
"He was trying to work the magic on Bryce," Bryant said. "But who would want to play in St. Louis? It's so boring. So boring. I always get asked like, 'Where do you like to play? Where do you not like to play?' And St. Louis is on the places I don't like to play."
This was happening on the opening night for Cubs Convention on Jan. 18, while the Cardinals were kicking off their own fan fest in St. Louis. By the next morning, a video clip of the exchange between Bryant and Dempster was making the rounds on social media and some Cardinals players responded swiftly.
On Instagram, Marcell Ozuna criticized the Cubs by saying, "They talk like tigers, but at the end they gonna be like little cat." During a radio hit, Cardinals pitcher John Brebbia quipped, "Cry me a river, loser."
Bryant was entertained by Brebbia's retort.
"It's the perfect response to it," Bryant said. "I kind of got a chuckle out of it."
Molina also took to Instagram, posting "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."
Bryant felt Molina came on a little strong with that reply.
"Yeah. I think so," Bryant said. "I felt like I wasn't attacking anybody. I wasn't attacking anybody's family, the organization, the fans. I wasn't attacking anybody. It was totally taken out of context. I don't know. You'd have to ask him what he thinks about it, if he has anything to say since then. But it did come off a little strong -- kind of caught me off guard a little bit."
The Cubs head to St. Louis for the first time in 2019 for a three-game series beginning on May 31. Mark your calendars. Bryant said he might even plan some activities around the city while he is in town.
"You know what? I might have to explore a little bit when I get there -- find some more stuff to do," Bryant said with a smile. "I've definitely heard of some things more to do there, which I might actually get out and try to do."
Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.