ORANJESTAD — Looking forward to some restful time with his family on his native island of Aruba, Rookie Boston Red Sox third baseman and shortstop Xander Bogearts was given a hero’s welcome by his compatriots when arriving at the Reina Beatrix International Airport yesterday afternoon. The third youngest pro baseball player on the fields at present, he performed some impressive plays during the ALCS and World Series that produced statistics coupling him with such icons of baseball as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb. He has had a very impressive ten weeks since being brought up from the minors to play with the Boston Red Sox in mid-August.
Xander traveled back to his homeland on the mid-day Jet Blue flight from Boston, accompanied by his mother, Sandra Brown, his brother, Jair, who was recruited by the Major Leagues along with Xander in 2009, and his uncle, Glenray Brown. His uncle, George Brown, who has been living in Holland for the past 30 years, was present to greet him.
“I am very happy to pass the mantle as the best ball player in our family to Xander,” expressed George. “It is time to make way for the next generation, and it is always a thrill to see them do even better than we did.” It appears baseball has been an all-consuming passion for the family for at least three generations, though George confides that in the past they usually rooted for the Cardinals. “Of course, that is all history, now.”
Xander and his immediate family were greeted at the gate by Aruba’s Prime Minister Mike Eman and his wife Doina, who then escorted them to the airport’s VIP room where several local dignitaries jockeyed for position to be the first to greet him through the door.
Xander handled the spotlight and extensive attention with congenial grace and an unwavering smile, even though he had not expected or asked for such a fuss. He was officially welcomed by the newly appointed Minister of Public Health, Elderly Care and Sports, Dr. Alex Schwengle. Prime Minister Eman declared that the young player had won a place in the hearts of all Arubans for his remarkable performance in the playoffs and World Series. “You are the pride of your family, San Nicolas and Aruba.” concluded.
Several Little League teams and islanders awaited Xander and his family as they made their way down the red carpet outside the departure hall to be whisked off to their home. Xander tried to accommodate as many local fans as he could as he was hustled away by security, but he had already signed umpteen baseballs, caps and shirts, as well as posing for photographs for admirers during the interlude in the VIP Room of the airport.
He voiced his thanks at that time to all who had come to greet him at the airport, and their continuing messages of support throughout the championships. He is very happy he had this opportunity to make his fellow Arubans proud, with the express hope it will continue.