Talking to Jackie Bradley Jr., it’s clear that the Red Sox outfielder has a deep respect for those who came before him.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Talking to Jackie Bradley Jr., it’s clear that the Red Sox outfielder has a deep respect for those who came before him.

He has discussed in length about his admiration for Jackie Robinson, while also making a point to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last season. And when it comes to honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Bradley Jr. noted while appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, “[King Jr.] just wanted everybody to be treated equal and that was the message that he preached. And to this day everybody would want that, or at least I know I do.”

So when the topic of living life as an African-American major league baseball player in Boston came up on the podcast, Bradley Jr. was predictably insightful

It is a topic of particular interest, not only because of the man the nation celebrates on Jan. 16, but also because of recent news items involving the Celtics’ Jae Crowder and Bradley Jr.’s Red Sox teammate, David Price, who told the Boston Globe he has heard racial taunts at Fenway Park.

“Overall experience, I have had nothing too terribly negative said about me,” he said. “I can only speak about my experience. As a whole, you will have people here and there, but that’s just some people. That’s not a majority. You can link everybody as a majority. It was definitely an adjustment period for me because I’m from the South so the weather, for one, was an adjustment. Just people’s personalities. LIke opening doors for people and not hearing ‘Thank you,’ I would always say, ‘You’re welcome’ to get them to have a response. But that’s not everyone. I’ve enjoyed my time in Boston. I have nothing negative to say about it. I know my wife enjoys it. I’ve been very welcome and I haven’t heard anything personally directly to me said negatively.

“Social media is social media. Anybody can write something. But those same people are probably the same people who are first in line to speak to you, or get an autograph. You kind of just take it how it is and go about your business.”

Growing up in Virginia, and going to college at the University of South Carolina, Bradley Jr.’s had also heard about, and researched, the sometimes uncomfortable history of race relations in Boston, and involving the Red Sox.

“I’ve heard a lot of different things, knowing Boston was the last American League team to have an African-American player in MLB. I kind of researched a little bit about [former Red Sox owner Tom] Yawkey … ,” he said.

“I’m definitely able to speak on certain things and speak my mind, because I feel comfortable talking about certain situations. Those are things you know coming in, but I don’t let that kind of stuff distract me from the goal at hand. I’m here to compete, help my team win, provide for my family and kind of everything else is everything else. I’m focused and I want to win, and that’s what it all boils down to.”

While Bradley Jr. downplays the effect any perceived racial issues have had on him during his time in the Red Sox organization, he also hasn’t totally immune to the kind of vitriol Price spoke of.

“I definitely had a lot of struggle in 2014. I think that was most racist type things that were directed toward me during that time,” Bradley Jr. said. “But it’s all growing pains. If you don’t know what somebody has been through, the adversity they’ve been through, it’s kind of hard to make that judgment. They’re judging solely off of performance in my career, which, by the way, was just getting started. There is definitely a lot of room to grow and improve. I’m willing to put the work in and I feel like last year was a stepping stone in showing that.”

TO LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE PODCAST WITH JACKIE BRADLEY JR., CLICK HERE

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

When it comes to the World Baseball Classic, Jackie Bradley is saying thanks, but no thanks.

Jackie Bradley Jr. isn't playing in the World Baseball Classic. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t playing in the World Baseball Classic. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

When it comes to the World Baseball Classic, Jackie Bradley is saying thanks, but no thanks.

Appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, the Red Sox outfielder explained that he was presented the option of playing for Team USA in the upcoming tournament. But a combination of factors made Bradley Jr. respectively decline the opportunity this time around.

A good portion of the decision was based on Bradley Jr.’s desire to spend more time with his 7-month-old daughter.

“I am not,” said Bradley Jr. when asked if he would be playing in the upcoming WBC. “They reached out to ask about my interest. At first I thought it might be something I would be very interested in and if I would want to be a part of. But then as sat back, I’m still just kind of jump-starting my career. Obviously I have a little daughter now. I didn’t think it would be worth those 2 1/2 to three weeks of time I was going to miss, with being in spring training I’m on a routine so get to come home every single day. If I play in the World Baseball Classic I wouldn’t be able to do that. The travel is constant, being on the West Coast. At the end of last year when my daughter was born, we went on a lot of long road trips so I got to miss her 12 and 13 days at a time. This is just important to me to stay here for a couple of months and maybe next time if I get that opportunity again, if it arises. I’ll be at a different time in my life and my career.”

The outfielder also wanted to place importance on keeping the same kind of routine he had leading into a breakout 2016 season, which saw the 26-year-old hit 26 homers with an .835 OPS in 156 games.

“I’m not going to be able to workout the way I want to if I’m doing the World Baseball Classic,” he noted. “It’s something that I’ve been able to establish and I feel comfortable with. I have to continuously get better. I’m not saying I couldn’t with the Baseball Classic, but this is where I want to be right now, and that’s home with the family.”

Bradley Jr., who just agreed to a $3.6 million, one-year deal with the Red Sox, has previously experienced playing for his country, suiting up for USA Baseball’s collegiate national team while at the University of South Carolina.

“Obviously representing your country is a big thing,” he said. “I definitely enjoyed in when I was in college, putting Team USA on my chest. But at this stage in my particular career I still need to get things done before taking it to that step.”

Red Sox players who have tentatively committed to play in the WBC include Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic) and Sandy Leon (Venezuela). Starting pitchers Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcell have declined the opportunity, while it isn’t yet known if closer Craig Kimbrel (who played in 2013) and/or Mookie Betts will participate for Team USA.

TO LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE PODCAST WITH JACKIE BRADLEY JR., CLICK HERE

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
David Price

David Price

Before David Price ever joined the Red Sox, he intimated that their fans could be particularly nasty towards him on social media.

It appears that behavior extended to Fenway Park.

In a lengthy interview with the Boston Globe from his native Nashville, Price said that bullpen catcher Mike Brenly and security had to stand up for him as he took abuse while warming up during a disappointing debut season.

The taunts occasionally turned racial in nature, the paper reported.

“I got it all,” Price told the paper. “It’s all right. I don’t care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I’ve heard that since I’ve been in school. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I’m trying to do. But I feel sad it’s still out there.”

For more on Price’s comments and how we should interpret them, click here.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Before David Price ever joined the Red Sox, he intimated that their fans could be particularly nasty towards him on social media.

It appears that behavior extended to Fenway Park.

David Price had a rough Red Sox debut in 2016. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports)Think David Price wants out of Boston so badly that he's counting the days until he can opt out of his contract following the 2018 season?



He was so good.

If you weren’t alive, or too young, to watch Bo Jackson do what he did on the football gridirons and baseball diamonds, you missed out. The best example I can give in terms of comparing Jackson to today’s baseball player? Think Mike Trout.

Bo Jackson. (Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports)

Bo Jackson. (Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports)

He was so good.

If you weren’t alive, or too young, to watch Bo Jackson do what he did on the football gridirons and baseball diamonds, you missed out. The best example I can give in terms of comparing Jackson to today’s baseball player? Think Mike Trout.

Before you start screaming that this guy who finished his 694-game major league career with a career .250 batting average and .784 OPS shouldn’t be uttered in the same breath as Major League Baseball’s best all-around player, understand that we have to deal in the “what might have been’s” when it comes to Bo. And while that doesn’t do anything for the argument supporting his skills, it should be a very real conversation after what he told USA Today:

“If I knew now what I had known back then,” Jackson tells USA TODAY Sports, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.”>Jackson told the publication, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.

“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.

“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.'”

So what would have happened if Jackson never played football? For one, we know that he would have played baseball a lot longer since it was a football injury that ended his playing days. And secondly, the holes in his game (he had a big league high 172 strikeouts in his All-Star season of 1989) would most certainly have been tightened up.

Here’s something to chew on: Jackson had 141 home runs in his 2,626 plate appearances. In the same number of trips to the plate (getting him to Aug. 2, 2015), Trout totaled 130.

His baseball numbers are so far off from Cooperstown-worthy it’s hard to even bring up the argument that he might already be in the Hall of Fame if football never entered into the equation. But, considering the transcendent type of talent Jackson was, it’s worth at least a passing thought.

Bo always knew how to get us the edge of our seat, and, with one comment, today is no different.

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Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford