Just like in a marriage, after all the years have gone by the ‘freshness’ has worn off. The butterflies aren’t there every time you kiss and your appetite has magically returned on dates (much to the chagrin of your waistline, and those dates end up being more infrequent and less romantic). But even with the chance to stray for all those younger prospects, you never leave the one you truly love.
That’s what it’s like with Jay Bruce. Sure, there are younger flavor-of-the-month players all over the league who are exciting because you don’t know where the ceiling lies. And those guys are a lot of fun to watch. But on a given night, there’s nothing better than buying a ticket and going down to the park just to see Jay Bruce get four hacks at it.
I am at the point where I am settled and comfortable with the player Bruce has become. That player is a very high-end player, even if it is just short of being the generational superstar we all hoped for.
Bruce plays hard every night and keeps his mouth shut. He’s a franchise cornerstone and consummate professional. He’s a good person away from the field who hasn’t changed much since signing a mega-deal that made him a rich young man.
He’s got his blemishes, but we love the guy for them just like we do his strengths. It’s okay that he’s going to slump for several week periods that make you wonder when he’s going to hit again. That’s because you’re going to get Gold Glove defense during that stretch and he will heat up again. And when he does, there’s going to be Hell to pay.
I also feel like in a year like the one the Reds are about to have – one that will be a mediocre showing without a postseason series win – it will be enjoyable to watch Bruce continue his career milestones. He’s a guy I enjoy going to the park to watch play on an every-day basis. I love having the guy as part of my big league city. It’s been a privilege to watch his career develop from day one.
I hope to see the Reds sign Bruce to some type of contact that makes him close to a career Red. While we wait on that, we’ll keep heading to the park to see him play; in search of the same goal, trying to get that one championship before the sun sets on us. Neither one of us knowing how much time is left to get there. All the while we’ll keep piling up those Bruce Bombs on the page of the blog.
You never forget your true love. We still love Jay as much as we did in the beginning.