Xander Bogaerts can do just about whatever he wants these days. That much should have been confirmed after the Red Sox' 19-3 win over the Yankees Thursday night. (For a complete recap, click here.)
The shortstop knew his mother, cousin and Little League coach all were flying into Boston for the series opener, scheduled to land about 6 p.m. The only question was whether or not they would be able to get over to Fenway Park in time for first-pitch.
But, you know how airport traffic at rush hour is.
So when Bogaerts launched the longest homer of his career in the first inning a glance up into the stands revealed empty seats. They hadn't made it in time.
"I saw them actually walk into their seats right when (Rick) Porcello was doing that inning where they scored a couple of runs," Bogaerts said, citing the second inning. "I think I led off the inning (in the bottom of the second) and struck out. Typical. Trying to do too much."
Bogaerts clearly learned his lesson by the time his eighth-inning rolled around.
With Yankees catcher Austin Romine on the mound, the shortstop shot his final shot, unloading on a 74 mph pitch. Bogaerts was finally able to deliver his gift via his second homer of the night.
"I hit the first one and they weren’t here and then I looked up and saw them arrive and struck out. I’m like, typical," he said. "But then they were there the whole game, I got a couple of hits and the last at-bat I saw my mom there and I’m like, ‘I’m going to try.’ It didn’t work out for a couple of pitches, but I was happy it did."
Trying to hit a home run is one thing, but as Bogaerts can attest, doing it is quite something else.
But considering how he has been swinging the bat -- carrying the fifth-best OPS (.975) in all of baseball -- it seemed like a good time to give it a whirl.