Manager Joe Maddon and his Chicago Cubs became a fan favorite this year for their loose style of play, an anomaly in baseball. When 2015 National League Rookie of the year Kris Bryant sat down with HuffPost Live to discuss his team's success this past season, he touched on that relaxed culture, stating that he sometimes didn’t even have to partake in batting practice prior to a game.
It was great. I mean, I don’t feel I took batting practice on the field the last two months, and those were my best two months of the year, too. And I don’t know if there is any correlation, but as the season gets going -- it’s a long season -- your body starts to break down, so it’s important to kind of get that rest. It’s completely untraditional, too. You go out to the field, you take batting practice all the time, but sometimes I think that’s a bad thing because you kind of get out of your routine. You are trying to hit home runs because there are fans out there and you want to give them a baseball. But, I mean, sometimes it creates bad habits, so it was nice for me to kind of get away from that a little bit.
Batting practice is almost a ritual prior to a baseball game for any major league club, but it didn’t seem to inhibit the Cubs’ play. The team ranked sixth in the National League in home runs. And Bryant -- as he mentioned -- was stellar his final two months. The standout third baseman hit .323 with 12 homers and sported a .967 OPS, leading his team to a National League Championship Series appearance.
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