It feels just like yesterday when the Killer B’s, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr., would meet in center field to do “Win, Dance, Repeat” dance after winning a game. They were viewed as the future of the Sox outfield and offense for years to come. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for Boston after winning the 2018 World Series. In 2019, the Sox would start their season with an 11 game road trip where they went 3-8. When the home opener came around, I had a good feeling they’d turn things around. Not only was the team finally playing at Fenway, but they were also getting their 2018 rings.
Being at that game felt so special and I thought this would be the beginning of what it was the previous year. As a result, they lost 7-5 to the Blue Jays with Sale getting his 3rd loss and the Killer B’s went 1-13. On my way home, I realized this could be the last season with this team and OF trio. Alas, the Red Sox would finish 84-78, ending their last game with a Mookie Betts walk-off inside-the-park home run. Afterward, Mookie wins a ring with the Dodgers, Benintendi gets traded to the Royals, and JBJ signs with the Brewers. As the 2021 season approaches, Sox fans have no clue who’s starting in the outfield. Like me, they’re also wondering how to deal with the end of the Killer B’s.
In order to take in everything that’s occurred, I thought it’d be nice to reflect on Benny, Betts, and Bradley’s time with the Red Sox.
Jackie and Mookie both started playing in the majors around the same time in 2014 and 2015, however, they wouldn’t consistently play together. They’d finally earn the playing time they deserve in 2016, which was David Ortiz’s final year. This was the same season Benintendi was called up to the majors in early August. Before Benny was called up, the Sox finally got back to their winning ways after 2 miserable seasons previously. All this winning meant they could celebrate each win in the most unique way possible. No one knows when it started but throughout the 2016 season, the outfield would dance after each win. However, many fans say the MLB veteran Chris Young was the one who inspired the “Win, Dance, Repeat” routine.
Early in their careers, JBJ and Betts got the chance to play with Big Papi from the clutch 2013 postseason run to the last game of the 2016 season. But there was a special connection between Ortiz and Betts. It looked like as the 2016 season was coming to an end, Ortiz was “passing the torch” to Mookie as the leader and role model of the team. Both of them share similar characteristics whereas they would perform well, they’d still find ways to be even greater. After being swept by the Indians in the ALDS, fans started asking themselves how will the Sox do without Papi?
The 2017 season was already looking bright for the Red Sox when acquiring ace Chris Sale from the White Sox. Baseball fans thought this made the Red Sox clear contenders. They’ll have a 1-2-3 rotation of Sale, 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, and David Price. In addition, Benny would have a great offensive year, in addition to Xander, Mookie, and JBJ. It all seemed perfect until the high power offense Houston Astros faced the Sox in the ALDS and knocked them out. This stung all Sox fans as we all thought we were going to be fine without Ortiz. It was at this moment going into the offseason that we knew we needed someone to hit dingers like Papi. Insert J.D. Martinez into the lineup and the Red Sox were able to do some damage.
With the addition of J.D. and a new manager in Alex Cora, the 2018 Red Sox were unstoppable. Not only was our pitching perfect, but so was our offense and defense. This team will probably be viewed as one of the top teams in MLB history with the number of runs scored and defensive outs recorded. The cherry on top of this magical season, other than the World Series win, was Mookie’s MVP performance that year. Luckily I was able to be at the night he hit a walk-off home run vs the Twins. I remember how electrifying that it was and how special he and the team was. Not to mention the postseason heroics from Benny’s diving catch vs the Astros and JBJ’s ALCS MVP act. As 2018 came to an end and 2019 was nearing, I couldn’t wait to see the Sox defend their championship.
After a disappointing start to the season, the 2019 Red Sox could not replicate what was done in 2018. The offense was still scoring runs, but our pitching couldn’t stop other teams from scoring. As the season progressed, the Red Sox weren’t going to win the division or go to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. In the most Sox way possible, Mookie walks off the last game of the season. But what wasn’t predictable was that being his last moment being in a Red Sox uniform. In 2020, Mookie was making his way from the east to the west coast to join the Dodgers. In return, the Red Sox got three prospects/minor leaguers, one of them being OF Alex Verdugo.
As for 2020, Benny played only a small portion of the shortened season due to an injury. Additionally, Jackie Bradley Jr. makes one last diving catch as most Sox fans believe he’ll be gone by 2021. Ultimately, Benintendi gets traded and JBJ leaves the Sox as a free agent. That brings us to the present with the end of the Killer B’s. I still find it difficult to understand that the end of the. But if I learned something from being a Sox fan, it’s that we always make a comeback. Ever since 2004, the Sox have been able to go from being one of the worst teams in the league to become the best within a few years.
For instance, 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, the Red Sox went 69-93. The following year they became Boston Strong and won the World Series. In addition, after losing to the Indians and Astros in each ALDS, the Sox dominated the league and won the championship. So just have patience, we’ll be back in the playoffs soon.