Bradford: Thank you for being Boston's sports villain, Alex Bregman

Rob Bradford
October 16, 2018 - 7:05 am

USA Today Sports

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HOUSTON -- I don't really know Alex Bregman. I've interviewed him maybe twice. Seemed nice enough. Alex Cora thinks highly of him. Obviously, Blake Swihart is a big proponent of his childhood friend. I just recently talked to a bunch of folks who have known the guy for a long, long time and swore up and down that the Astros' third baseman was the tops.

That's fine. But that's not what we're talking about.

Bregman has become Boston's new sports villain, and it's awesome!

In case you turned off the internet yesterday or chose to obsess over Patriots' television ratings it was Bregman who offered up a slice of deliciousness for this American League Championship Series. For some reason, Bregman felt obligated to surface a video of Astros' home runs against Red Sox' Game 3 starter Nathan Eovaldi. (To see that Instagram post, click here.) Most of the Red Sox downplayed the social media salvo in the same manner they had after the Aaron Judge boom box incident.

"Like I said a few days ago, if you need motivation in Game 3 of the ALCS, you better check yourself because you win three more games you go to the show," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora Monday. "And that's what should motivate you. Alex has different ways of motivating himself. And whatever. I'll leave it at that."

But the one reality of these Red Sox is that they like these sort of things. They admitted as much after the Yankees' series, citing not only the "New York, New York" serenade but also the clubhouse perception that only Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz picked the Sox over New York in the ALDS.

It's a page out of the Patriots' playbook. Those Super Bowl teams didn't need the blueprint for Philadelphia's Super Bowl parade to play better, but they used it anyway. Can't hurt. Same holds true here. Good for the Red Sox. Good for baseball.

"Wow. I don’t know why he would do that," Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce told WEEI.com. "We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series. I don’t think he needs to run his mouth. He’s one of the best players in the game. If that’s his personality, that’s his personality. Nothing against the guy. If that’s how he has to motivate himself, whatever."

That's their deal. What this gives us as those who are watching this whole series unfold is something that is so rare these days. Bregman is wearing the 10-gallon black hat.

He is what Danny Ainge was for Los Angeles. Sorry, that's the best I've got, and that's sad I have to go that far back. The point is that these sort of images don't come around a whole lot, especially in baseball.

Think about recent Red Sox' postseason runs. Give me examples of one of a team's best overall player putting himself in the crosshairs like this. 

Alex Rodriguez didn't do this. You think he was ready to embrace the hate? Nope. He was too politically correct. Good luck trying to find someone in any of the Red Sox' World Series foes. Those pair of St. Louis teams and the 2007 Rockies didn't exactly exude pointed passion. Danielle Peck singing the National Anthem and God Bless American in front of her old boyfriend, Josh Beckett, before and during Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS? Nice try Indians.

Judge gave it his best whirl but never made it back to Boston to reap the rewards of his playlist choice.

Bregman is a gift.

Watching him play the first two games has been eye-opening. He was good last postseason, but there hasn't been a player who has come into Fenway Park and offered the feeling that if he was involved in a play it was going to go Houston's way as the 24-year-old has. And even though he has since deleted the Instagram post, the guess that we haven't seen the last of Bregman's willingness to put himself in the crosshairs of the Red Sox and their fans.

When Eovaldi faces off with Bregman Tuesday the whole thing won't matter. Either the pitcher hits his spots or he doesn't. The hitter isn't going to hit better. The fielder isn't going to field more precisely (which would be impossible to do, anyway). And the Red Sox or Astros aren't going to win a game or lose a game because of the way the infielder comports himself.

No matter.

This is about bringing back something we've been lacking in these parts for way too long. Thank you Alex Bregman.

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