JBJ 1, Garage door 0
BOSTON — If you’re going to run into an outfield wall, rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said Friday night, you could do worse than collide with a garage door.
Bradley went careening into the garage door in Fenway Park’s center-field triangle, derriere first, while nearly making a spectacular catch of John Jaso‘s third-inning triple.
“I’m glad it was giving,” Bradley said after Boston’s 7-1 win over Oakland. “I didn’t think I did at first, but I went back and watched the replay, I hit it hard. Everybody was asking, ‘Are you all right?’ ‘Oh yeah, I’m fine, the garage gave a little bit,’ but then I saw it, and I hit it hard on my backside.
“Honestly, I’ve never hit a wall like that. I’ve always just been able to play it off the wall, knowing what I can get to and what I can’t. I knew I could get to that. I had it. I should have caught it. Man, I know it would have saved that run for Buch [Clay Buchholz], too. I wish I could have.
“But the minute I tried to turn around, that’s when the momentum just carried me right on back, and I couldn’t stop.”
“I went back, I got a gauge on the ball right away,” Bradley said. “The first couple of steps were really good. The ball was carrying pretty good tonight. As I’m running back, I check back and see where it is again. I know for a fact that I’m going to have a play. After that, I caught it and I didn’t know where the runners were at the moment but I see the middle infielders jumping frantically like, ‘Hurry up, hurry up,’ so I just tried to square one of them up in the chest and let him deal with the rest.”
Bradley’s defense is not lost on the Sox pitching staff.
“The attributes that he shows in center field are second to none as far as I’m concerned,” Buchholz said afterward. “He gets some of the best jumps on the balls of everybody I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot, having Ells [Jacoby Ellsbury] out there for the last couple of years, too.”