On May 27, 2008, rookie centerfielder Jay Bruce made his highly anticipated debut for the Cincinnati Reds as they hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cincinnati Reds faithful had waited for this night since Bruce's impressive spring training showing.
The big question for all the fans in Cincinnati was, "Could Jay Bruce live up to all the hype?"
Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce hits a double in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wednesday, May 28, 2008, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 9-1. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Bruce was named the top prospect of the 2005 draft. In 2006, he was named a Baseball America Minor League All-Star. In 2007, he repeated that accomplishment and added the title Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year.
It was only fitting that Bruce's major league debut would demonstrate his raw talent and skill that has brought him so much attention from media and fans alike.
Bruce had a debut that all major league baseball players dream of. He batted a perfect three for three, walked twice, knocked in two runs, stole a base and struck out zero times. No one could have written the script more perfectly.
It is a well accepted fact that most home team television announcers are homers, and the Reds' announcing duo is no exception. In between every exclamation that Bruce was 'ready to be here' seemed to be the implication Bruce can go ahead and buy a ticket for Cooperstown.
It's probably too early to commission that bust; after all, Bruce was only facing the 'C-' pitching talent of the Pirates. With all objectivity, however, Bruce did look very comfortable at the plate. He had a good eye for the pitches. He demonstrated good speed. Perhaps most importantly, he was collected and acted like he had been there, even though he hadn't.
While one game is certainly too early to predict how Jay Bruce is going to pan out as a major league ball player, he showed true talent and potential. He will have his ups and his downs, but for the fans of Cincinnati, he gives them something to cheer for and also gives them their first hope of a true home-grown success story in decades.
Best of luck, Jay.