Last June, I had the pleasure to interview Jackie Bradley Jr. prior to a home game against the Texas Rangers. It was a nice and easy conversation with the youngster during his second stint with the big club. I asked my questions, smiled and nodded as he answered, and let him continue on his way to prepare for the game.
As I was writing my story in the Fenway press box, JBJ launched his first career home run. I had a new angle, so I needed to speak with him again.
Postgame, I asked him how that felt. "It felt great," followed by a few nonchalant remarks, as if it was just another hit.
Fast-forward to today and that's how he's handling the current situation he's in. Bradley was assigned to Pawtucket after a not-so-great spring and a pretty darn good one by comeback player Grady Sizemore.
It's just another day and another chance for Bradley to prove himself worthy, to work hard and reach the ultimate goal of playing in the Major Leagues. His time will come and he knows it. He's just 23 (will turn 24 mid-April) and has plenty of years ahead of him.
Even as he stood by his locker in Ft. Myers, Fla., with a media scrum surrounding Sizemore following the announcement of his earning the Opening Day starting job, Bradley took it all in stride.
That's what I've learned to love about this kid. Nothing is too much or too little for him. He's not too big for anything and he's never afraid of the challenge that lies ahead.
I can't wait to see him roaming center field at Fenway Park in the future. He'll be a mainstay and he'll bring many fans excitement and joy. Perhaps another few championships will be won with JBJ on the team. Perhaps not.
But either way, he'll take it all in stride and tomorrow will be another day.
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