Our week of tributes to departed Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is almost over, I promise. Indulge us just one more time, please.
I hope you read Nick’s personal story about what Bruce meant to him as a baseball fan. Now, I knew Nick was writing something about Bruce, but I didn’t realize that he intended to personalize it like he did. At the same time he was composing his post, I was trying to write a piece about my own Jay Bruce memories for Cincinnati Magazine.
Here’s my Bruce piece, and it’s a personal story as well. It opens with the first time I saw Bruce play in person:
A little more than eight years ago, mid-June, I was in New York City, strolling happily toward Grand Central Terminal. I had been to NYC a couple of times before, but that evening was special. It was going to be the firstÃ¢â‚¬â€and onlyÃ¢â‚¬â€time I would get to catch a game at Yankee Stadium. The old Yankee Stadium, before the antiseptic update.
New York is always a great experience but, for me, that day was even better than most. My wife and I jumped on the train to the Bronx, excited to see The House That Ruth Built. I was particularly excited that the opponent on that night was going to be the Cincinnati Reds.
But most of all, I simply couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait to watch the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ new rookie right fielder. A kid who, just a few weeks earlier, I had written glowingly about over at Redleg Nation, in a piece entitled, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Legend of Jay Bruce.Ã¢â‚¬Â I had actually been writing about Bruce for a while, and anticipating his arrival in the big leagues, but this was going to be my first chance to watch him play, and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be manning the same right field grass as the Babe himself (not to mention Paul OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill).
And I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the only Reds fan who felt that way. All day long, I kept bumping into people wearing Reds gear around the city. From across the street, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d hear someone yell to me: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Go Reds!Ã¢â‚¬Â I saw no fewer than ten peopleÃ¢â‚¬â€on the mean streets of New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â€wearing Reds shirseys with Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bruce 32Ã¢â‚¬Â on the back.
I hope you’ll go read the entire thing, and let me know what you think. It finishes up with a personal story involving Jay Bruce and my 7-year-old son that made us both Bruce fans for life.
So yeah, I got a little sentimental. It may be the last time I write about Bruce at length. I’m really going to miss that guy.