Nobody likes it when you say “I told
you so,” but we really did tell you so when it comes to Jackie Bradley Jr.
The miserable adventure that has been
the 2015 Red Sox season has turned into a delight the last several weeks. A
team that was impossible to watch has suddenly become exciting and fun.
One major reason for that is the play
of JBJ, the electric outfielder who spent most of the season in Ben Cherington’s
doghouse in Pawtucket.
There’s no reason to rehash Bradley’s
remarkable stats, especially over the last month when he has been incapable of
hitting anything but an extra-base hit. We all know how good he is, and we’re
past the point of denying it now.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is the real deal.
He’s the guy we dreamed he would be — and then some — when we didn’t seem to mind that Jacoby Ellsbury took his
talents to the Bronx following the 2013 World Series.
Of course, those of us in JBJ’s
corner back in May and June should feel a little better than the rest when watching
the Red Sox because, even when he was stuck in McCoy Stadium, we knew there was
more to Bradley than just his spectacular defense that routinely conjures up
memories of Willie Mays.
“But he can’t hit in the majors,” we
“He stinks,” they said.
“He’s oh for eleven,” we were told.
Yes, Bradley went 0-for-11 in his
first stint with the big club this season. That came after he hit .198 in 127
games with the Red Sox in 2014.
It didn’t seem to matter than a there’s
a long list of players, including guys like Mickey Mantle, who couldn’t hit
when they first arrived in the big leagues.
It didn’t seem to matter that of
those 11 Bradley at bats, four came against Sonny Gray and three were against
Felix Hernandez. All of them were on the road while playing for a team with all
nine batters in a slump.
Pete Rose wouldn’t even have bet on
himself under similar circumstances.
It didn’t seem to matter that JBJ was
absolutely raking it in Pawtucket.
No, Bradley Jr. couldn’t hit, and you
were a moron if you wanted him back in Fenway. Trade him for a player to be
named later and a case of beer.
Now that Bradley is back roaming the
outfield in Boston — even if it is at the wrong position — the Red Sox are no
longer the lethargic bunch they were from April through July.
the Red Sox starting pitching has come around, too, making the string of
meaningless games down the stretch worth watching.
course, Dave Dombrowski and whoever he tabs as the new general manager have
some work to do before we can call the Red Sox a contender in 2016.
order of business would be a Jeff Gillooly-style hit on Hanley Ramirez to make
sure he never plays for the Red Sox again. Then, Dombrowski needs to add a real
ace and rebuild the bullpen before we are to have any delusions of an AL East
title in the future.
the meantime, JBJ and the rejuvenated Red Sox have given us plenty of reason to
feel good about the Old Towne team heading toward the off season. A
baseball-free October won’t be as painful because we’ll still have lots to talk
about when it comes to the Red Sox.
you were one of those who was truly in JBJ’s corner from the start, make sure
to give your neighbor, or anybody else who will listen, your best “I told you