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Jay Bruce trade tough to stomach for Reds fans

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 17:16:35-04

I told myself I wouldn't write something.

It has been a foregone conclusion, right?

The Reds had to trade Jay Bruce. We all knew it was coming. It was just a question of when and what the return of prospects would bring.

It doesn't make this day any less sad.

And these days are coming too frequently. Last year, I wrote about what it was like as a fan growing attached to Johnny Cueto only to see him traded away.

This year it is Jay Bruce.

Jay Bruce never quite lived up to the lofty expectations we placed on him when he was the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball.

But he developed into an All-Star player and by all accounts an All-Star young man.

He also became my youngest son's favorite player.

Wes, now 6 years old, has loved Jay Bruce for more than two-thirds of his life. He has loved Jay Bruce in the way that only a 6-year-old can love a favorite player.

"BRUCE!" was one of his first words. 

When he was nearly 2 years old, he told us all he wanted for Christmas was a "Ball-ball Bruce present." That's what he called baseball: Ball-ball Bruce.

To him, Jay Bruce and baseball were one and the same.

Bruce was one of the few words he could say nearly five years ago when we were getting our dog. So we named her Brucie after Jay Bruce.

 

 

Yeah, she's a girl dog named Brucie.

Now, I've been getting asked if we will change her name.

In December 2014, I wrote about Wes getting to meet Jay Bruce. I'm certain that day is still among the best days of his young life.

But we knew the end was coming. In the last year, I've had to explain to my boys about the Reds trading Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier.

To my kids, that's akin to saying someone is leaving the family.

Last week, I asked Wes, "Who will be your favorite Reds player if the Reds trade Jay Bruce?"

"Jay Bruce," he answered.

I tried to explain: "No, I mean if Jay Bruce doesn't play for the Reds anymore, THEN who would be your favorite Reds player?"

He was pointed in his response: "Jay Bruce. It will always be Jay Bruce."

I think I know the feeling.

Bruce will forever be in my mind as the image of the resurgent Reds of 2010 — the first playoff team in 15 years. I can still picture that moment after his home run clinched the National League Central title. His arm stretched high as he sprinted toward first, watching the ball sail toward the center field fence.

It's too bad that he's now also the image of the Reds rebuilding.

 

Jay Bruce clinches the Reds NL Central championship in 2010.