As part of Major League Baseball’s ongoing promotion of next year’s London Series, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr jetted into London on Thursday evening and spent the following 24 hours starting on a weekend of media obligations that includes (remarkably) having to meet a rather hungover wally in a christmas jumper:
First off the important thing: Bradley was absolutely lovely. Friendly, gracious with his time and genuinely excited to be in London, which is no mean feat given he was probably exhausted and/or jetlagged.
Alongside radio commitments this morning, Bradley spent an afternoon at Lord’s, teaching England cricketers Jonny Bairstow and Liam Plunkett a little bit about the sport. GB Baseball’s very own Liam Carroll and Will Lintern were part of the group involved and reliably informed me that both players showed off impressive arms (78mph in Plunkett’s case!) which probably isn’t too surprising for a couple of athletes of their ability. Apparently Bairstow was crap at hitting though (make your mind up for yourself thanks to mlblondonseries Instagram).
Bradley then had a sit-down with various journalists from British newspapers (and me, pretending I fit in too) to talk about cricket, next year’s games, the World Series and more. He was enthusiastic about being in London and made some interesting points about players being jetlagged (he doesn’t foresee it being an issue) as well as trying to navigate the London Stadium outfield (he doesn’t foresee it being an issue).
Unfortunately we weren’t able to get any time for a one-on-one podcast chat, but hopefully Bradley will be back next year to divulge all about his defensive heroics and being a world champion.
After the round-table chat it was a sitdown interview for MLB Network, a quick photo opportunity with a few Red Sox fans (and me) and then whisked off once more, no doubt for further commitments. On Sunday, Bradley will be in Liverpool for their crunch fixture against Manchester United and in between times he’ll no doubt be taking in the sights and sounds of London (it’s his first time in the city!). Look out for him on the tube.
Bradley was expected to be joined by CC Sabathia, but unfortunately Sabathia was forced to pull out on Wednesday and last gasp efforts to get Gleyber Torres on a flight didn’t pan out. This presumably is the explanation for the cancelled New Era store event today which rather unceremoniously disappeared from Twitter this week.
Following Alex Rodriguez’s pit-stop earlier this month, it’s clear MLB are ramping up their promotional efforts as we head into 2019, and it seems likely there’ll be much more for fans to get involved with in the New Year too. Keep those eyes peeled!