Cubs players have a fun day off after home opener win

FOX 32 NEWS - Cubs players were basking in the spotlight all over the city on Tuesday.

Their off-day was rather busy, but in a good way.

We all know Cubs MVP Kris Bryant can hit the ball across Waveland Avenue. But what about one across the Chicago River?

FOX 32: You think you could hit one across the river?

Bryant: "No. That's so far,” Kris Bryant said.

FOX 32: It's about 500 feet. Schwarber maybe.

"Yeah, not me,” Bryant said.

In a stunt sponsored by Red Bull and streamed live on social media, Bryant took batting practice while facing the Chicago River.

In front of hundreds of fans stacked on bridges, the riverwalk and balconies, the balls kept splashing into the river where they were retrieved via kayak.

"I mean this is something no one ever gets to see. Hitting baseballs into a river in downtown Chicago. Really cool experience for me,” Bryant said.

Just hours after a walk-off win on opening night, the Cubs' day off puts Ferris Buehler to shame.

Two thousand fans greeted Cubs hero Javier Baez in Humboldt Park where the city named a street in his honor.

Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber had a meet and greet with fans at the downtown Macy’s.

And Cubs' skipper Joe Maddon walked the red carpet to celebrate his appearance on the cover of Michigan Avenue Magazine.

Is there a danger of all this becoming a distraction?

"I think our guys handle it well. I mean today's a day off. I promise you the game tomorrow they'll be ready to play,” Maddon said.

"The Chicago Cubs are the face of baseball,” said Danny Ecker of Crain’s Chicago Business.

Ecker says all those off-day extracurriculars demonstrate the star power and marketing muscle of these Cubs, with the team becoming a national brand.

"When you combine the incredible story with this huge market, and the national following the team has, then you add in world's championship. This is what baseball's using to market itself in a lot of ways,” Ecker said.

Which you could see as Bryant crushed baseballs into the Chicago River.

"This is unreal. I mean Kris Bryant hitting home runs into the river. You can't get any better than that,” said Cubs fan Jillian Dicola.

So was Kris Bryant able to hit one across the Chicago River? Not today, falling about 15 yards short.

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