Brucemania Energizes A Weary Nation

The only thing we really know about Jay Bruce so far: He likes enormous hats. Look at that thing. You could keep your wallet and keys in there. But other than that he's just about perfect; at least according to Reds' fans. It's Brucemania! Here's how firmly it's taken hold on Day One: Reds bloggers are writing glowingly about how they love the way he flips his bat. True.

The Reds promoted the 21-year-old outfielder from Class-AAA Louisville on Tuesday, designating first baseman Scott Hatteberg for assignment. And the debut was almost as big as the hype: Bruce going 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, two RBI and a stolen base as the Reds beat the Pirates, 9-6. Bruce, a center fielder, was hitting .364 at Louisville with 10 homers. He had been named Minor League Player of the Year while with the Bats in 2007.

The Legend Of Bruce began when he was playing for his high school team in Beaumont, Texas.

As a sophomore in high school, playing on the West Brook varsity, he hit a home run that made his coach's jaw drop. "The field was 310 feet down the right-field line," said Jacob Walton, the West Brook head coach who was an assistant when Bruce played there. "They had another field facing us. There were about 50 feet from that fence to the next fence. He hit the ball way to the first-base dugout. It was 500 feet easily. I was like, 'Oh, my God.' It was the farthest home run I think I've ever seen him hit. That clicked right there that we had something special, that we needed to get him going, get him trained the right way."

Of course there's no way to tell if Bruce is the Next Big Thing, or the Next Clint Hurdle. But it's fun to speculate. Perhaps Max Mercy can dig up a few more facts on his background.

Bruce's Premiere Premier [Cincinnati Enquirer]