The Chicago Cubs open their National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, and while the importance of the series opener is certainly on third baseman Kris Bryant‘s mind, he’s thinking about something else too.
Bryant, a Las Vegas native, opened up about the mass shooting that took place last Sunday in his hometown at a country music festival where at least 58 people were killed and several hundred wounded.
“It broke my heart,” Bryant said, according to Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s been scary, watching the news and watching the numbers rise. You never think it’s going to happen to anywhere you’re from, or where you live, and then it does.
“I was up all night. Thankfully, the people who were there that we knew got back to us really quick, so we weren’t waiting up. I couldn’t imagine some of those people and the fear they had and the parents waiting to hear from loved ones.”
Among those present during the attack were the Cubs slugger’s soon-to-be sister-in-law and his friends. Bryant is thankful none of them were hurt.
“My soon-to-be sister-in-law was there and running right with the crowd,” Bryant explained. “A lot of friends (were there). I’ve heard a lot of stories about some friends who thankfully weren’t hurt. So many people were hurt, and it’s sad to think that some people’s kids and parents and uncles aren’t going to be there anymore. It’s just sad.”
Bryant and close friend and fellow Las Vegas native Bryce Harper – who unveiled custom cleats honoring the city Thursday – have plans in place to help their hometown recover from the attack. The pair recently filmed a public service announcement about the shooting which is set to air during the NLDS.
“It’s been tough. Obviously, with Bryce over there too, we kind of been talking. We play baseball for a living, but there’s way more important things, too. We’re definitely doing all we can to help,” Bryant said, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
“This offseason, I know I’ll be doing all I can. I was born and raised in Vegas, and there’s actually people that live outside the city in Vegas. It’s not just downtown at the Strip. So it’s been really touching to see the community come together like that. The response from everybody. They have way too much blood being donated, which is unbelievable just to see how many people come together when we need it.”