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September 26, 2018

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Cubs star Kris Bryant ‘just can’t get enough of this city’

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Wade Vandervort

Cubs infielder Kris Bryant (17) signs 11-year-old Jack Bendalin’s jersey prior to the Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians game at Cashman Field, Saturday, Mar. 17, 2018. Chicago went on to defeat Cleveland 11-4.

Cubs, Indians in Vegas for Big League Weekend

Cubs infielder Kris Bryant (17) chats with fans prior to the Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians game at Cashman Field, Saturday, Mar. 17, 2018. Chicago went on to defeat Cleveland 11-4. Launch slideshow »

Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant had been at Cashman Field many times before Saturday. But most of previous trips were as a fan.

Long before Bryant became a World Series champion, National League MVP and one of baseball’s elite players, the Las Vegas native was a spectator for the annual springtime Big League Weekend.

He remembers the Cubs playing the White Sox. Now, he’s one of the faces of the Cubs.

“I love these games here. I think a lot of my teammates do, too,” Bryant said.

Bryant returned Saturday for Big League Weekend and had one hit in Chicago’s 11-4 victory against the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the last Big League Weekend at Cashman.

The event, and hometown Las Vegas 51s, will move to the new Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin in 2019. That gives locals like Bryant a chance to reminisce about memories from a facility that’s had professional baseball for more than 30 years.

“This stadium has been a key to the city,” he said. “They are getting a new one close to where I live. That is exciting for the city. I can’t wait to see that one when it is built.”

Bryant said he looks forward to the annual Las Vegas series because it gives his family and friends a chance to watch him play. He also gets to sleep in his own bed for a few days, a rarity during the grind of a long season.

“I just can’t get enough of this city,” he said. “I love everything about it.”

Bryant spent his offseason here and was a frequent attendee of Vegas Golden Knights games. Like residents of his favorite city, he was hooked.

“It has been special. Just being here the whole offseason, and seeing the buzz and going to all the games and seeing the fans,” he said. “It’s been fun to watch them. Hopefully we can keep this up for a long time.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21