I Will Miss JBJ


Boston has lost more than its fair share of superstars over the past year.  First it was Mookie Betts getting traded to the Dodgers.  That was followed by Tom Brady leaving via free agency to sign with the Buccaneers.  Most recently, Zedeno Chara turned in his black and gold Bruins sweater for the red, whit and blue of the Capitals.  And now, Jackie Bradley Jr. has signed a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Photo courtesy of nbcsports.com

Okay – that last one is a stretch.  But I will honestly miss JBJ almost as much as I miss the other three.  Sure, Bradley was at times unbearable to watch swinging the bat.  He would occasionally go into funks where he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.  He would then get white hot and go off for two or three weeks, before invariably cooling off and dropping to the bottom of the order.

Bradley’s signing with the Brewers will not get anywhere near the fanfare or fan backlash as the losses of Betts, Brady or Chara.  Many fans will probably offer to drive him to the airport.  I am certainly not one of them.  I will miss JBJ.

Bradley never lived up to expectations with the bat.  But I believe he far exceeded those expectation with his glove.  Bradley was stellar in his Red Sox career, which was spent primarily as a center fielder.  And I am not talking just about the leaping and diving catches, or the catches where he would go clanging off the wall.  Of those there were plenty.  I am talking about the numerous times he routinely turned hard hit line shots to the gaps into outs, and made the catch look easy.

In a day and age where defensive prowess takes a third-row back seat to offensive abilities, Bradley was a breath of fresh air.  I can’t remember how many times an opposing batter hit a frozen rope deep to the outfield, and you would see Bradley cruising after it and you just knew he had it in his back pocket.  He routinely turned balls into outs that otherwise may have resulted in extra base hits.

I have seen Red Sox centerfielders from Fred Lynn to Tony Armas, Otis Nixon and Johnny Damon.  Some very good, some not so good.  Bradley tops them all for the sheer ability to go get the ball.

Bradley was also a class act during his time in Boston, never letting his struggles at the plate or the boos from the fans affect his play in the field.

I will miss JBJ.  And I’m afraid the Red Sox pitching staff will too.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: I Will Miss JBJ
I Will Miss JBJ
Boston Sports Syndicate
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