The Best of Pedroia

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This entry was posted on 8/18/2008 1:03 AM and is filed under uncategorized.

There have been several stories over the last two season that have done a marvelous job of illustrating Dustin Pedroia as both the person and the player. 

First and foremost the Little Second Baseman That Could is a damned good ballplayer who has overcome a small stature and decidedly un-chiseled physical appearance that had many learned baseball scouts doubting his prospects as a big league ballplayer.

Well, Pedroia has proven he belongs and then some over the last two seasons. Building on a rookie year that saw Pedro set a Major League record for batting average by a rookie second baseman (.317) en route to an American League Rookie of the Year Award (a piece of hardware the infielder said he was using as a holster for his garage door), Pedroia has been even better this season.

He’s built up his power potential and should clear 15 home runs for the season – an amazing total for a 5-foot-7, 170-pound guy who swings straight out of his shoes most of the time. Pedroia has also improved his foot speed and base running instincts, and used the speedwork at API to help him amass 12 stolen bases this season. His seasonal totals for 2008 if he stays on his current pace: .321 batting average, 120 runs scored, 51 doubles, 16 home runs, 76 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Those are some unbelievable numbers and signify a huge jump from his rookie year to his current 2008 campaign.

Pedroia has earned a considerable amount of respect from all teammates inside the Red Sox clubhouse over the last two seasons, and has also made his “force of nature” personality a regular part of Boston locker room life. Pedroia will good-naturedly chirp and keep things loose in his own dugout, and a handful of players were kind enough to share the funniest things they’ve heard come out of the second baseman’s ever-running mouth over the last two seasons.

The players also wanted it to be clear that Pedroia doesn’t say anything to try and show anybody else up; he simply picks the right times to pipe up and – more importantly -- backs it all up with a huge level of production on the field – but they also get a good laugh at the Pedroia mouth when it roars. He simply knows when it’s time to talk and when it’s time to let his glove or bat do the talking. Here are some favorites:

Jed Lowrie: “Where do you start? The funniest I think I heard was when we were playing Oakland earlier this year. He popped up a 91-mph fastball that was right down the middle and then I ran out after the inning to get him his glove. He said ‘I just missed a 91-mph fastball right down the middle. I’m the worst .300 hitter in the league.’ There have been a few guys that [say something funny] every once in a while, but he does it on a day in and day out basis. He’s got to go home and write down some of this stuff because some of it is pretty good. 

I told him that one the other day and he thought it was pretty funny. There are times when he doesn’t even really remember what it was that he was saying and you kind of have to remind him. He doesn’t realize how funny it is sometimes. It’s entertaining, but at the same time he expects so much out of himself that he pushes everybody else to expect that much out of themselves too. Not only does he keep it light, but he keeps you motivated and on your toes. If you do something, he’s going to call you out on it.”

Mike Lowell: “Okay, I won’t say the pitcher’s name but he hit a line drive off a pitcher’s shin last year. And the pitcher had to come out [of the game]. The ball hit off the pitchers shin and then ricocheted to first base and [Pedroia] was out. He comes into the dugout and says ‘Yeah, I put guys on the 60-day DL.’ So we’re laughing and the next day the pitcher comes back in and throws three innings. We thought that was pretty good. He doesn’t go for putting a guy on the 15-day DL, he goes for the 60-day DL.”

I think it’s a great mix because he’s serious and he knows where to draw the line. Some guys are always very intense and that’s fine, but you don’t need everybody to always be like that. Just like you don’t want guys sitting there trying to think of funny things to say all the time either. He’s great because he can be a little bit of both.”

David Ortiz: “He’s the best. He’s the best of the best. He’s the best thing that ever happened to this ballclub. He’s a [expletive] great kid, dude. He’s the best. I love him. It’s great, man. It’s unbelievable. I talk about Pedroia all the time to everybody because of how little he is and the way he plays the game. 

And I’ll be like ‘Dude seriously he’s a bad little kid.’ Pedroia is always going to be like a 16 or 17 year-old because he’s little and he’s got a baby face, you know, but he just rakes. Dude, he comes up with some lines and you’ll be laughing. He hit a ball off the Green Monster once and he came back to the dugout and said to me ‘Hey Big Punish. You know it’s gonna rain, right?’ and I was like ‘Why?’ He goes ‘didn’t you just see the lightning show.”

Kevin Cash: “Well what he said to Joe Mauer this year was pretty hilarious. He had a 9 or 10 pitch at bat and Mauer looks up at him and says ‘Man, I don’t know what to throw you to get you out.’ And he shot back ‘don’t worry, so does the rest of the league.’ 

And when we were in Japan and he hits a double to right field and gets on second base. Mark Ellis comes up to him and says ‘I didn’t know you had that kind of pop to right’ and Pedroia said ‘yeah…just wait until I pull one.’ He does it in such a good way he knows how to time it well. He’s as pissed off as anybody when we’re losing. He’ll know when it’s that right time when he’s trying to break it loose a little bit. I definitely don’t want to give the impression that he’s always goofing around though because he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around.

We’ll talk back and forth and we’re constantly at each other but then when 6:25 p.m. comes around and he’s getting locked in…I’m not going to mess with him and just let him do his thing. It’s pretty cool to see a young player that’s really able to lock everything in like that when it’s game time. He gets on me all the time: catching balls with my chest protector when I’m catching Wake or not throwing balls right to the bag when I’m throwing down to second base. We go back and forth.

He says one thing and ten different people will jump on him so he’s getting worn out as much as he’s giving it to anybody else. When we first met he wasn’t like that, but as we got to know each other he’d send me text messages in the offseason with little quotes. He got his cast off his hand [last winter] and sends me one that said: ‘Look out American League, the offseason hitting program has started.” I just look at it and laugh.”

Alex Cora: “The funniest thing I’ve ever heard him say is that he thinks he’s good-looking. I think that’s pretty funny.” 


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    • 8/20/2008 9:31 AM Shecky wrote:
      Funniest one I heard was, an inning after hitting a HR against Baltimore earlier this season, Pedroia's in the dugout yelling "strongest 160 lb. second baseman in the league" to Brian Roberts, while flexing his muscles in a bodybuilding manner. The kid is a crackup and a terrific player.

      See Biggio, Craig
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    • 1/19/2009 4:26 PM Andrew wrote:

      love your work. always look forward to you on WEEI. especially with Holley. Let me you seem like you have good access. Do you have a book? lemme know if you have one or when it is coming out.


      Reply to this
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