Red Sox fans are missing out on Xander Bogaerts as he’s entering his prime
Seldomly do teams strike gold with their draft picks. Whether they’re an alleged international superstar, a college kid, or someone who was simply added as an undrafted player, it is uncommon to find such great talent. Xander Bogaerts is that gold that we so rarely get to see in the ballpark. It’s an absolute shame that Red Sox Nation and baseball fans, in general, were robbed of that experience in 2020 because of a failure in leadership to act quickly.
When rumors swirled of a virus, leaders across the globe could never have imagined the damage that could have precipitated after. Sports were simply not the top priority at the moment. Saving lives was as it should be.
Some countries had their leaders at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, others like ours were non-existent. As the situation has gotten a little bit better, it’s given all of us the opportunity to see things differently especially in sports.
We look at sports as a way to escape, to enjoy something different, connect with others, and share a pastime perhaps with friends or family. Fans can’t forget the excitement that happened in 2018 to only come crashing to an abrupt halt in 2019. No one could have predicted the things that followed.
The X Factor is arguably one of the best if not the best shortstop in baseball. With the season no longer 162 games but most likely a 60 game season, fans across the world will not get to see Bogey play in his year 27 season. Those mid to late 20s are the better ones in a player’s career. Yes, Bogaerts already got his mega-deal so he’s set, but fans are getting robbed of getting to see him play.
Not all of the players are to blame for this, it falls on team ownership across the league. It’s an embarrassing situation for the sport as a whole. Baseball is not the most popular sport in this country any longer and something like this could turn fans away permanently.
Similar to the strike that almost crippled the sport in the 90s, a rejuvenation thanks to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa saved it under unique circumstances.
Bogaerts is coming off of his best year where he slashed .309/33/117/4 and managed 52 doubles in 155 games played. The expectation was that he could build from that year in 2020 to become one of the more feared hitters in the league. There’s not a question in my mind that I will truly wonder if Bogey could have cracked 40 this year. Maybe the opportunities may not have been there, but maybe they would have been, we will never know.
When looking back at Bogaerts in June of last year, he slashed .313/6/20/2 and followed that month up with a .346/7/24/0 in July. This was all after a struggle in a combined March & April of .271/4/17/0. A slow start certainly didn’t help the 26-year-old shortstop. All we can hope for now is that his early-season struggle doesn’t happen again or his shortened season will make some think that last season may have been a fluke.
Xander has become not only one of the best players in Boston but one of the best in the entire MLB. Both Red Sox and baseball fans will stand behind him – they know the real deal when they see it. Fingers crossed that the Sox and Bogey can make 2020 a smash even in a limited basis.