Daniel Bard has earned the right to know where he will be in 2021.
“Definitely next year for sure I’ll be a Rockie unless they trade me,” the reliever said on the Bradfo Sho podcast.
But after revitalizing his big-league career this season, having taken the mound as a major-leaguer for the first time since walking off the hill at Fenway Park in 2013, Bard can dare to dream things he long thought would not be possible, such as pitching at Fenway at least one more time.
“I definitely hope to pitch in that stadium again at least one more time. I think that would be really cool,” said the 35-year-old, who is still under Colorado control through next season unless the arbitration process changes. “Even if it was for an opposing team. It would be great if it was for the Red Sox, but even coming in on the road … Not as if this story isn’t full-circle enough, I would probably be fighting back tears warming up. It would be pretty cool. I think I would really appreciate it.”
Bard’s story was one of the better ones emanating from the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign, with the reliever not only making the Rockies after previously retiring but proving to be one of Colorado’s most reliable relievers, finishing with six saves.
It was success that those fans in Boston he thought he had lost forever thanks to two years of control issues (which ultimately led to his self-diagnosed case of the “Yips”) came back into his life.
“I’m not too active on any of the social medias but I do catch wind of some stuff, my wife would show me,” explained Bard, who received more than 250 congratulatory texts after his first major-league appearance in seven seasons. “At first I was kind of surprised at how positive it was. I think I left that place feeling a little beat up by fans, media. It was probably just that while I was there I was feeling any little bit of negative energy and I think there were a lot of positivity that I was missing. Now it’s good to know that there were people cheering for me that I didn’t even know were out there. So I definitely appreciate that.
“It’s a place you can have success, build a brand, build a fan base and then you have one bad year, it’s rough. The more you expose yourself to that the more you’re going to ride those ups and downs.
“If you’re a person who — which I think I was when I was younger — put to much value into what people say about me, think about me, that affects you. That literally directly affects your emotion, you happiness and it affects how you perform on the field. I wish I had a little more of that not-give-a-(expletive) those guys had when I was younger. I had to find it and grow it through other ways. You definitely have to have that to play there, especially if you’re going to play there a long time.”
Bard goes into great detail about the process of returning to life as a professional baseball player, laying out the fascinating step-by-step process it took throughout this calendar year.