During these dark, slow, and confining times, I like to think of things I am grateful for. That way not only do I keep my mind brighter and happier, I can reflect on the people, places and things that have made an impact on me.
One of those people is Xander Bogaerts. Quick confession, this is going to come across as me having a crush on Xander, and so be it. The man is beautiful.
Besides his good looks, what isnt there to like about Xander? Hes homegrown, growing up in the Red Sox farm system. The Red Sox were the first to discover him, as he was tearing it up in Arubian baseball. But in classic Yankee form, they came in and offered Xander double what the Sox did. That would make a lot of 16 year old kids heads spin, but Xander stayed true to his word and kept his agreement to sign with the Red Sox.
Xander then was called late in the 2013 season, and despite only being up for the short stint, he was added to the playoff roster where he batted .296 with two RBIs in 12 games. He went on to start the next season, and has excelled in his role as part of the team. Xander has been a key part of shaping the whole culture of this team. He will be for a long time, as he is on track to be one of our longest tenured players. Last offseason he signed a 6 year extension worth $20 million a year to be a part of this team until his age 34 season.
But all the numbers aside, what captures my attention are the things that only someone who has true fandom for the player can understand. Something that we, Red Sox fans, can understand. The thing that separates him from other players is his charisma, charm, loyalty and leadership. Watch him in the dugout. Notice the connections he has built with his teammates. Watch his poise and character in interviews. And watch how hard he plays night in and night out. This is a kid who gets to the games 6 hours before first pitch. This is a guy who would rather be at home then out, acting like a dummy. This guy stands out, and should be on everyones shortlist as a favorite player. And all of the shitty roster moves aside, Xander is a Red Sox for the long haul. and thats a blessing.
-Dave Little (@DlittleMLB)
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