Xander Bogaerts is off to a really great start for the Boston Red Sox. The shortstop is hitting .335/.398/.470 with 11 doubles and four triples, which is all excellent. But where are the home runs? Bogaerts has played 42 games this season, and home runs have been completely absent. Well, strike that. Home runs were absent until Thursday night, Bogaerts’ 42nd game of 2017.
It was the third inning of Boston’s game against the Texas Rangers, and Bogaerts came to the plate to face Nick Martinez with a runner on first. Bogaerts saw four pitches — two called strikes, a ball in the dirt, and a foul — before he saw the one he’d blast. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Bogaerts hit an absolute bullet to left field, a laser focused line drive that glanced off the top of the Green Monster for his first homer of the year.
Now Bogaerts isn’t a rookie anymore. But his teammates decided to prank him like a rookie. When he came back to the dugout after rounding the bases, he came back to total and complete silence. No one was paying attention to him. He ran through the dugout with both hands raised to accept high fives that would never come. He looked totally weird and totally hilarious.
It didn’t last long. Bogaerts’ teammates came back to life by the time he got to the end of the dugout and began assaulting him with hugs and praise.
The whole thing was adorable. But why did it happen? Why did Bogaerts’ teammates prank him like that when he’s been one of the best players on the team? Well, that’s probably why. Bogaerts has been so, so good, but until Thursday night (his 42nd game of 2017) he’d hit zero home runs. Compare that to his fantastic 2016 season, when he hit his first homer of the year in game number 10.
But now that his first homer is out of the way, it doesn’t really matter when he hit it. Because it’s done! And the next time he hits a home run, he’ll get to have a proper celebration. Something tells me Bogaerts won’t wait long to get that out of the way, too.
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