Dear Red Sox Nation

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

As a 21-year-old entering the 2011 draft, I could never have imagined how the next 10 years would unfold.

But I know now that I’ll never forget them.

My journey started like it does for many young Red Sox prospects: in Lowell with the Spinners. It then continued for a short stay in my home state of VA, in the city of Salem — followed by a quick stopover in Portland, Maine. From there, entering the 2013 season, I figured I was on my way to good ol’ Pawtucket. But to my delight, something else happened to me that spring: I reached my goal of becoming a Major League Baseball player.

I made the Opening Day roster of the Boston Red Sox.

April 1, 2013 — eight years ago, tomorrow — was the beginning of a new chapter for my career. It’s one that would be filled with hardships and triumphs, but most importantly growth. From the Merloni Shuttle to the duck boat parades; from hitting slumps to hitting streaks; from All-Star Games to Gold Gloves; and from last-place finishes to World Series championships ... my baseball career in New England has been one that’s challenged me to always be present in the moment. 

And to always be better than the day before. 

These memories and accomplishments would not have been possible without God, hard work, dedication, family, friends, teammates, coaches, and support staff. The relationships I’ve made over the years, both on and off the field, have helped me to become the player and person I am today — and I’m so grateful for that.

So before each of us officially turns the page to our next chapter, I just wanted to say: Red Sox Nation, thank you.

It was an honor.