When this whirlwind season is over, Xander Bogaerts said he plans to return to Aruba, go to the beach, sit on the sand and reflect on how he went from part of the Red Sox’ future to part of their World Series team.
That makes sense because Bogaerts has made pressure-packed postseason at-bats look like a day at the beach. It’s Shane Victorino who comes to the plate to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” with those famous lyrics, “Don’t worry about a thing . . . ” But it’s the barely-drinking age Bogaerts who is the personification of those lyrics in his first postseason.
Just like the next great Red Sox team has arrived ahead of schedule, so has the Red Sox Next Big Thing. There is an aphorism in sports that says, “Rookies don’t know what rookies don’t know.” In Bogaerts case, he doesn’t know that he shouldn’t be this calm, this comfortable, and this good on such a big stage so early in his career.
When the Sox open the World Series on Wednesday at Fenway Park against the St. Louis Cardinals, Bogaerts will be at third base. At the tender age of 21 years, 22 days he will supplant Babe Ruth as the youngest Red Sox to start a World Series game. The Babe was 21 years and 246 days when he pitched in the 1916 World Series.
Hype springs eternal when it comes to prospects. Potential is the most intoxicating elixir in all of sports and fans and front offices can both become drunk on it. But rarely do the talents of the young match up with the expectations we heap on them right away.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week