Indiana Daily Student

Bradley athleticism stems to Bloomington

<p>Then-sophomore infielder Scotty Bradley, now a junior, slides into home plate against Purdue on April 8, 2018, at Bart Kaufman Field. </p>

Then-sophomore infielder Scotty Bradley, now a junior, slides into home plate against Purdue on April 8, 2018, at Bart Kaufman Field.

An array of athletic accomplishments fills the dinner table at a Bradley family holiday gathering.

Whether its winning matches in the World Cup, catching a no-hitter in the MLB or hitting home runs in college baseball, the family has made quite the name for itself in some of sports' biggest settings.

IU junior infielder Scotty Bradley has centered his life around sports, and he’s had some of the most well-known American athletes at his disposal for help along the way. Or better yet, at his dining table in New Jersey.

“The Christmases and stuff, they can get a little hectic,” Scotty said. “It’s a lot of sports craze, but some of the stuff you learn and the people that have been met over the course of time, it’s pretty special. The stories really do seem to be endless.”

His father, Scott Bradley, spent nine seasons in the MLB and is now in his 22nd season as the head coach of Princeton University baseball. Michael Bradley, his cousin, is the third-leading scorer in United States Men’s National Team history. And his uncle, Bob Bradley, was the head coach of the national soccer team from 2006-2011.

Scotty’s grandparents, Gerald and Mary Bradley, spent their lives creating a lifestyle filled with sports, and it is something that Bob and Scott carried on.

“We grew up your classic all-American family playing whatever sport,” Scott said. “Whatever season it was, whatever the other kids were playing, it was just something when it came time for my own family, it was natural.”

Growing up, Scotty and his brothers Kevin and Kyle spent much of their time around the Princeton team. Whether it was getting swings in or running 40-yard dashes down the stone hallways of the prestigious university, Scotty had full access to the NCAA baseball lifestyle even while college was a distant thought.

“My brothers and I created a lot of havoc growing up, definitely around Princeton University,” Scotty said. “We were very fortunate to grow up in a great place, but were never really pushed into anything.”

Being around the team meant that Scotty was exposed to the work it takes to reach the highest level, and he built relationships with many of his father’s former players.

One that stands out is former MLB pitcher Chris Young, who played with various teams and won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals.

Each season for Young meant new gear coming in the mail for the Bradley boys.

“Every time that we would go visit Chris, he’s bringing gloves and bats from the major league clubhouse,” Scott said. “Whenever we went to games, we clearly weren’t sitting up in the nosebleeds.”

Scotty has also been able to get to know former players that his father played with during his time in the MLB.

Scott was behind the plate for the Seattle Mariners on June 2, 1990, when Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson threw his first no-hitter. The relationship between the Bradley and Johnson families continued after both retired from the game, and Scotty recalls making trips to the Johnson household in Arizona.

While the trips are not as frequent now, the connection between the families linked again at IU with Randy’s daughter Lexi Johnson joining the volleyball team last fall.

“It had been a while before I’d seen Lexi this year, but I grew up hanging out with the Johnsons,” Scotty said. “It’s cool to see guys that he had played with. It was a great set up growing up.”

As much as Scotty has been able to learn from the positives of sports through these connections, he’s also been able to take lessons from the negatives.

While being on the celebratory end of the USMNT, Michael and Bob have been criticized just as much for the lows of the program.

Despite leading the team to some of the of its most notable wins, the vitriol from fans on social media and former players alike often targeted the two men.

“He’s had to deal with having a little bit thicker skin and letting some of that stuff just rub off and letting people say what they want and not really taking it to heart,” Scott said of Michael.

Scott says it's a lesson that Scotty has taken from his cousin.

Scotty’s freshman campaign in 2016 included an All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection. But the knowledge he gained from his cousin and uncle was put to use during his second season.

A lower back injury continued into Scotty’s sophomore year and he was told rest would be the best route of care. He played in just five games for the Hoosiers, but ultimately the team decided a redshirt season would be best.

“I learned a lot more in that year than any other year I’ve been here,” Scotty said. “Getting to show up at the field every day and not worry about how your swing feels or how your arm feels. Really just soaking in every second of being with the guys.”

Scotty further developed his love for baseball while forced to take a break from competitive play. The passion his dad has always praised only got stronger carrying into Scotty’s return to the field last year when he hit seven home runs, had a batting average of .326 and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection.

“I know he’s really worked his tail off to get into really good shape and go into the year focused and ready,” his older brother Kevin said. “Whenever he gets the opportunity, we know he’s one of the best hitters in the country.”

Kevin compares Scotty to Drago from “Rocky IV” because of his passion for working out and improving himself off the field.

“Just a big, blonde meathead,” Kevin said. “But doesn’t necessarily act like it all the time, which is a good thing.”

Despite being far from home, Scotty immediately found comfort in Indiana. Scott said both him and Scotty fell in love with the look of IU’s campus, and by the end of the first night of their recruiting visit, Scotty felt he had found his home.

But it still didn’t feel too different than home in New Jersey.

“I don’t think it was too big of a reality change,” Scotty said. “You’re at a big school where there’s a lot of people around, there’s a lot of moving parts, which is almost like the style of life back in the East Coast. There’s always stuff going on.”

His focus is on the current season for the Hoosiers, the first under Head Coach Jeff Mercer.

Those traits specific to Scotty, often referenced by his family, quickly caught the attention of Mercer.

“He leads with his work ethic,” Mercer said. “The example that he lays out, especially for the young guys, is extremely important.”

While the Bradley family continues to impress all over the country, Scotty said the rare time spent together is cherished.

“Sports really can teach valuable lessons,” Scotty said. “I think that over the course of time, my family has been able to get to really learn those lessons.”

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