Most folks who’ve wandered around Wrigleyville after a Cubs game have probably found themselves at Sluggers a time or two. And as people are wont to do after a barley soda or three, they may have entered the bar’s trademark batting cages to take a few hacks.
As part of a multi-year partnership between Red Bull and Sluggers, the cages — which are now 32 years old — have been completely refurbished and feature several targets with various point values. Each target represents a step in Bryant’s career, from Las Vegas to San Diego to the MVP award. Hit any of them and you’ll score more points than KB did when he stepped in Wednesday morning.
The Red Bull folks gave one luck fan the chance to step in and compete mano a mano with KB, selecting a gentleman in a hoodie sitting conspicuously on a pop-a-shot machine. Imagine everyone’s surprise when it turned out to be none other than Kerry Wood, who dropped the hood and then dropped the head of the bat to connect with a pitch and drive it to the 20-point target.
Ryne Sandberg even stopped by to address the crowd, though he didn’t step into the cage. Neither did Ryan Dempster, the event’s emcee. Demp avoided a Harry Caray impersonation too, which was a big plus.
Once the stars had been hustled off, attendees were given tokens and invited to try to beat KB’s score of zero. I can’t speak for the rest of the crowd, but I can tell you definitively that no member of Cubs Twitter managed to register any points. I can also tell you that the fast-pitch baseball cage in the center is not set up well for lefty batters. Like, at all.
Sorry if there are any dents in either the bat or the cage, Sluggers, I swear I’m good for it. But you know what? I probably wouldn’t have been swinging so hard had I not been trying to beat the Bleacher Nation guys, so it’s really Brett Taylor’s fault.
Anyway, here’s some video and a few photos from the event courtesy of Red Bull. I’ve included another clip that I got of a frightening moment that saw Bryant narrowly escape an unexpected pitch.
Be alert for pitching machine balls pic.twitter.com/xq5967Z8Dk
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) April 11, 2018