Bradley Jr. sizzles in his debut for Red Sox

Bradley Jr. sizzles in his debut for Red Sox
April 2, 2013, 1:30 pm
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There’s a certain kind of joy that comes with an Opening Day win. Especially when it’s against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium; especially when it unfolds in front of a national TV audience and lasts fewer than four (or 400) hours; especially when it’s the Sox first Opening Day win in three years, puts them above .500 (I know) for the first time since last August and in first place (I KNOW!) for the first time since September 2011. It’s just good stuff. So good! So good! So . . .

Anyway, through all the excitement of yesterday’s victory, there are a few performances that stick out. For one, Jon Lester, who wasn’t perfect but struck out seven over five innings and exuded a presence and level of control that’s been missing for so long.

Then there’s Jose Iglesias, who went 3-5 on the afternoon! An amazing accomplishment considering he literally didn’t hit the ball out of the infield and that “three” exceeds his projected hit total for the entire season, never mind one game.

There’s also the bullpen, one of the assumed strengths of this team coming into the season, which went four strong innings and featured a string of solid outings from Koji Uehara (a five-pitch sixth), Andrew Miller (who had some control issues, but threw fire when mattered most), Andrew Bailey (who continues to handle his demotion with honor and class) and Joel Hanrahan (who looked great in his first appearance with the Sox, even if it was relatively meaningless).

But of all the players to deliver on opening day, none was greater than the man, the myth and the next Mayor of Boston:

JACKIE BRADLEY JR., who kicked off his Major League career in style, celebrated in style (with a post game trip to Applebee’s) and has spent the last 12 or so hours in his rightful (and familiar) place at the forefront of the Boston sports landscape.

But you know what I love most about Bradley’s fantastic debut?

He didn’t get a hit.

As you well know, one of the issues with the way the Red Sox have been run these last few years has been ownership’s obsession with perception. Their belief that big names, handsome faces and overall flash and sizzle are the only ways to keep folks interested in the team.

And in those terms, it doesn’t get anymore “boring” than three walks, a strikeout and an RBI ground out to the second base. From a pure Fenway marketing standpoint (save for his great catch in left), Bradley’s debut should have been a disappointed: No hits! No homers! Boooo! This guy sucks!

Instead, he’s being celebrated. Fans are in love with his patience, they respect his resourcefulness. They know that an RBI ground out in a crucial situation beats a garbage time homer every single time.

And as Bradley (hopefully) continues to play the game the right way, even if it’s not the “sexiest” way, we can only hope that ownership finally comes to know that that’s what the people want.

That’s what real baseball fans need.