Boston, MA– It is only May 9, and baseball fans have already seen the best catch of the entire season. Sure, it's early and sure, that's probably hyperbolic, but I feel pretty confident that, unless we see Mike Trout do some sort of Super Mario-esque back flip onto the Matterhorn attraction at the nearby Disneyland to rob a home run, then the catch of the year was made last night.
The Boston Red Sox' Jackie Bradley, Jr. has long been a center fielder who was overdue for a Gold Glove award, until he was finally awarded the trophy last season. Bradley might be the best defensive baseball player in the entire league. Aside from his routine consistency and impeccable defensive playmaking, Bradley is also able to pull off some of the most astounding plays you will ever see in a game. Last night was no exception.
With a 1-1 tie in the game last night, thanks to a near-flawless start by Chris Sale and a third inning solo home run by Mookie Betts, the game entered extra innings. In the bottom of the eleventh, with the bases empty and Ryan Brasier on the hill, Baltimore Oriole Trey Mancini clobbered a pitch to left center field and it looked like the Orioles were going to walk off with the win. That is, until Bradley climbed the seven foot wall, brought his waist even with the top of the wall, and hauled the ball back into the field of play. This description hardly even does the play justice. Just watch the clip above and you'll be wowed by Bradley's insane athleticism and eye for the ball.
It ended up saving the game for the Red Sox as Andrew Benintendi then answered with a go-ahead home run in the twelfth inning and Heath Hembree slammed the door for his first save of the season and Boston won 2-1. Bradley may be batting .142 on the season, but his glove is the only reason why the Red Sox are now finally at .500 in the standings with a 19-19 record!