Jackie Bradley Jr. is calculated when he speaks. Each word, he knows, carries meaning. If he doesn’t agree with your question he’ll challenge you on it, force you to think deeper.
On Saturday, though, there were no challenges, less calculation. It mainly was about reflection. Gratitude, too
The Red Sox' last two games of the season against the Atlanta Braves could be the last time Sox fans see Bradley in a Boston uniform. Bradley said he would entertain the thought of returning to the Sox, but of course, the two sides have to be aligned. Bradley wants to test the free agent market, which is his right, and one many players rarely get to experience.
Bradley’s experience throughout his eight-year tenure with the Red Sox is what has helped to shape him.
“There’ve been everything that I think a ballplayer can go through,” Bradley said before the Sox’ 8-2 win over the Braves. "The ups, the downs, the great times, the difficult times, and it’s one of those things like I said where you sit back and reflect. You become thankful. You become thankful for every trial and tribulation you went through, the struggles, and just knowing you did the best to stay true to yourself.
“I tried to make sure no matter how bad I felt or how angry I was at myself for not performing the way I wanted to, that I tried to treat everyone with respect, whether it was to the reporters or to the fans. I just wanted to be better for not only them but for myself as well.”
Bradley was engaged to his now-wife, Erin, at the time he got called up by the Sox. They now have a daughter, Emerson, and are expecting a son at the end of October, Jackie Bradley III.
In a sense, Bradley has grown up in Boston. That’s why during the last game at Fenway Park earlier this week, Bradley arrived earlier than usual. He wanted to take in everything, everything that has molded him.
“I just spent some time thinking about all the things that we’ve accomplished as a team, as an organization, and it was cool,” Bradley said. “It was cool. I felt at peace, I felt at ease. I got a lot of messages from a lot of fans, family. It’s always great. I read every single one of them. I saw every single message. Thank for you all the love. And I greatly appreciate all of you.”
Bradley will have a decision to make, but he’ll be making it alongside Erin. He’s no longer living for himself.
“This is a big decision, and it’s going to have an impact on not just my life, but their lives as well,” he said. “I don’t take that for granted, I don’t take it lightly, and ultimately I’m going to do what I feel is best for my family, and we’ll see how that plays out.”
At the end of his media session, Bradley tipped his cap, almost like it had some finality to it. Maybe not. But if this is the end, through some dark days, there’s also been an All-Star appearance, a Gold Glove, an ALCS MVP, and a World Series to his name. Most importantly, there’s the people and teammates he’s come in contact with.
“The relationships, those will never be forgotten with the guys that I played with for such a long time, the people who have been in the organization for such a long time,” said Bradley. “Staying in contact with the 10 percent of people who go laid off a couple of days ago, that was important. Those people have been in the organization for such a long time and have had an impact on my life, so I’ve gotten to talk to a couple of them. So, it’s been a great ride.”
Roenicke, Bloom to meet
Manager Ron Roenicke will meet with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom this upcoming week regarding the status of his job. Roenicke said the process leading up to it hasn’t been unsettling. “If I was just starting out as a young manager, I’m sure it would be a little unsettling,” Roenicke said. “But with all the things that I’ve been through I realize there’s a process and timing difference on the way organizations do things. I’ve been fine. Whatever happens, I’m going to be fine.” ... The Red Sox reinstated righthander Andrew Triggs from the injured list. Jeffrey Springs was optioned to the team’s alternate site. Triggs pitched a scoreless ninth Saturday ... The Red Sox will play their final game of the season Sunday at 3:10 p.m. on NESN. Nick Pivetta will take the ball for the Sox.