Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dustin Pedroia, the lovable idiot

There's something awesome about watching Dustin Pedroia this year. Yet I have to admit I haven't always been the biggest fan. I don't mean I've rooted against him or even had anything against him. It's hard to ignore his credentials (2008 AL MVP, 2007 AL Rookie of the Year, 2008 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger). There just wasn't the attachment I've had to long time players like Ortiz, Varitek or Wakefield.

Pedroia brings more to the table than just hits
The 2004 Red Sox team was one of my favorite teams of all time, in any sport. It's not because they broke the curse in the World Series. It's not even just because they came back from that 0-3 deficit against the Yankees. There was a certain personality to that team that was hard not to love. They were a self-branded band of idiots. It was easy to sympathize with them and really fun to root for them.

It's something that carried over the 2007 team with Papelbon's river dancing and the Bullpen drum core. It's also something that's been dearly missed in the past couple of seasons.

Pedroia is that personality. He not only brings an immense talent to the Red Sox but also that goofy idiot-like persona that made those championship teams so fun to root for.

Maybe I'm just noticing this from him now, but it seems that's been extra apparent recently. From him throwing peanuts at Francona while he was doing a TV interview last year to him cussing out the Yankees as he rounded the bases after his home run in the 2011 home opener, Pedroia's been fun to watch. He's made the Red Sox that much more enjoyable, even despite their 2-9 start (the worst record in the MLB).

Kevin Millar was another player who was always one of my favorites. He was the embodiment of the "band of idiots" personality that '04 team took on. He was dedicated to doing everything he could to not only win baseball games but also have fun doing it. There's stories of him passing around cups of Jack Daniels during that '04 ALCS and footage of him telling Dan Shaugnessy before Game 4 of that series, "Don't let the Sox win tonight". He was great to watch and I always felt there was a small void when he left. When he went on the BS Report with Bill Simmons and started talking about Pedroia, I realized maybe Pedey's the one that will fill that void.

"Watching Dustin Pedroia is as refreshing as I can ever see on a baseball field these days," said Millar. "The amount of passion and how hard he plays this game and the energy that he gives that club. I've got a man crush on him, let's get that out there."

Pedroia and Millar are cut form the same cloth and it's great to see that kind of personality on the Red Sox. It also doesn't hurt that Pedroia may just be the team's MVP right now.

Maybe that doesn't mean a lot for a two win team, but Pedroia's performance to start to the season has definitely been one of the highlights in eleven games that haven't included too many.

So far, he's got a .986 ops, 15 hits, five RBIs and five walks (one intentional). His .366 batting average is easily the best of all Red Sox with over 16 at bats. The closest to catching Pedey is J.D. Drew, who's batting .296 on the season.

So, as miserable as the season has been so far. Dustin Pedroia has been really great to watch. Good things are ahead for this ballclub.

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