For Bryant, Ramirez an idol and role model

DES MOINES, Iowa — Although he was raised in Las Vegas, current Iowa Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant grew up a Boston Red Sox fan.

Now, with the recent arrival of Red Sox great Manny Ramirez at the Chicago Cubs' Triple-A affiliate as a player-coach, Bryant has a hero to hang with.

“When he was coming into Colorado for the first game [with Iowa], I looked up his career highlights on YouTube, and there’s so many good memories of him,” said Bryant, who has put up eye-popping numbers of his own this year in the minor leagues. “I grew up watching the Red Sox -- they were my favorite team -- and to watch him in the World Series and all the good and the bad times with him, it’s just been great.”

When Ramirez was with the Red Sox from 2001 to 2008, Bryant was between the ages of 9 and 16.

“It’s just surreal, you don’t really grow up thinking that you're going to play with a guy like Manny Ramirez, but it’s been really cool so far,” said Bryant, noting he and Ramirez are actually similar hitters.

“I had a lot of favorite players growing up, but he was definitely one that I liked to watch," the 22-year-old said. "He was a right-handed hitter, I’m a right-handed hitter, and he hits for a lot power, and that’s kind of my game too. He was definitely a guy I grew up watching.”