LEADING OFF: Trade deadline nears, Cubs to get tougher tests

Bryant sported the new adizero Afterburner "Dipped" cleat as part of the adidas Baseball collection and did it in three different colorways.

Fast-forward to Tuesday night at Petco Park.

The 24-year-old is quickly becoming the face of the adidas baseball brand after signing a deal with the company in 2014.

That was Bryant's first career homer in the All-Star Game (he's only been to two so far), but it's a decent bet it won't be his last. He then switched to the "Power Red" and "Infrared" colorways in the following innings. So World Series home-field advantage belongs to the American League champions this year.

"I'm not disappointed", Arrieta said of not being named the starter. "To start off with my first All-Star hit being a home run is special". "He got a good piece of it".

And I will also admit that as a Sox fan, I was hoping that moment in the first inning ended with a Kris Bryant strike out by Chris Sale and not a home run (but let the record show, in games that count in the standings, Bryant is 0-6 with six strikeouts against Sale).

Bryant's father, Mike, told him beforehand to swing at Sale's first pitch.

It was the second time a Chicago player had homered off another in an All-Star Game.

Bryant got a warm homecoming in San Diego, where the Las Vegas native spent three years slugging for the University of San Diego Toreros before the Cubs made him the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft. It really doesn't affect me at all.

The experience got off to a "cool" start when Cubs owner Tom Ricketts chartered two planes to deliver his seven All-Stars and their families from Pittsburgh - where the Cubs finished the first half of the season - to San Diego. He has had flashes of brilliance and was arguably one of the most reliable pitchers in the entire Cubs bullpen.

That's right, I watched both the All-Star game and the Home Run Derby - and I enjoyed them both.

Besides scaring his NL teammates with a loud foul into the dugout, causing Bryant to grin, he wasn't able to do any damage against Hamels again, striking out on a 3-2 changeup.

"You're going to be looking at one of the best hitters in the game", Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist said of Bryant. "He already is, but the consistency is what you have to see over time to become a legend like Big Papi [David Ortiz]".

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