It was determined weeks ago that the Boston Red Sox season would end not with a bang, but with a whimper.
But Xander Bogaerts, who could be playing his final games in a Sox uniform, is not content to go quietly into the night.
In the penultimate game of the season, and what might be the final night contest of his Boston career, Bogaerts did what he’s done so many times in the last 10 years: he put his team on his back. In the ancient cathedral, in front of soaked fans who braved the downpour to make sure they saw him just in case, Bogaerts lifted a ball up into the rain and over the Monster.
As he rounded the bases and touched home, the usually reserved shortstop pointed to the jubilant crowd and blew them kisses.
After the game got called due to the deluge, Bogaerts cryptically told reporters, “Sometimes, stuff is meant to be.”
Cue the collective spiral of millions of fans.
Is it meant to be because it’s a lasting reminder of Bogaerts’ impact on this team? Or was it the perfect way to cap off a decade of excellence?
Bogaerts also discussed his growth since signing with the organization as a 16-year-old “little kid,” his love for the fans, respect for the media, and his pride in being the player he is and being so here. But that first line is what will stick until whatever comes to pass finally comes.
It’s been a heavy time for this team and their fans, especially this week. The Sox are in last place, about to watch 3/5 of their division and a dozen other teams vie for a championship, and on the precipice of parting ways with some of the players who were instrumental in bringing that very glory to Boston only four years ago.
Bogaerts could be one of them. Whether he opts out of the remaining three years on the team-friendly deal he initiated in 2019 or is cheaped out of town by the ownership’s wandering eye that only wants to pay outsiders, not proven homegrown stars, this week could be it.
Of course, for the umpteenth time, it shouldn’t be. This season is lost, but Bogaerts is not yet so. There is still time, an entire postseason’s worth and five days after, to convince him to stay. To pay him what he’s earned. To ensure that the hearts of loyal fans don’t shatter again. To do the right thing.
Wouldn’t that be grand?