A wiser fellow than myself once said, sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.
Sam Elliott’s paradox is one Jackie Bradley Jr. is all too familiar with. The Red Sox center fielder has been known to rob a home run or two. In a career full of memorable thefts, JBJ pulled off arguably his greatest heist at the unfortunate hands of Aaron Judge (with myself in attendance) back in 2017, masterfully navigating the Fenway Park triangle to preserve a David Price shutout. In an instant, Judge went from euphoria to heartbreak as his near-homer disappeared into the web of Bradley’s glove, forever going in the books as a 411-foot fly-out.
It took three years, but Judge finally carried out his long-awaited revenge plot Friday night, belting one just out of Bradley’s reach for a two-run jack. I’m not sure Clark Kent could have stopped Judge’s 376-foot screamer from leaving the yard, but that didn’t stop Bradley from trying his darnedest. This time, however, the 30-year-old Gold Glover was not rewarded for his efforts, getting his foot swallowed up by a rogue Pepsi sign in center field.
Bradley eventually dislodged himself, but it hasn’t helped the Red Sox’s fortunes any as Boston currently trails 3-1 in the Bronx. Being bested by an inanimate object, and by a rival soda company no less (Fenway has long been a Coca-Cola park), is the perfect metaphor for Boston’s sluggish start. Bradley, for his part, has been a rare bright spot for Boston, entering Friday’s action with a superb .400 average through 20 at-bats. Meanwhile Judge has been molten-hot for the Bombers, homering in each of his last three contests.