At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Posts Tagged ‘Boston Red Sox’

The journey of Bill Monbouquette : from Billy Martin to Jacoby Ellsbury

Posted by athomeatfenway on January 20, 2010

The Ace in his Prime.

Jacoby Ellsbury could act terribly dumb when he was 22 years old.

“You have to be dumb to try to steal a base when your team is winning 14 – 2.”, said Bill Monbouquette.

So, he talked to him about it.

“If you do that again, you’re going to get drilled right in the flippin’ coconut.’”, Monbouquette told Ellsbury that day in 2005.

Monbo was coaching for Oneonta against Ellsbury and his Lowell team mates at the time.

“And when I told him that, this is what he did –“, Monbouquette mimed Ellsbury’s reaction with the drop of a jaw and the jump of both brows.

I imagined that this dose of inelegant but visceral wisdom made a lasting impression on Ellsbury.

You only need to spend 5 minutes with Bill Monbouquette to know that he is thoughtful and rough-edged, like many men were in the 1940’s and 50’s, and quite politically incorrect in 2010.

Honest, working class guys.  Guys who take no shit, but will take prisoners.  They’ll fight you when you are wrong, and stop just short of pounding a stake through your heart.

I am grateful to have spent time with him at the Boston S.A.B.R. meeting on MLK Day.

++++++++++++++

Bill Monbouquette won 114 games and registered a 3.68 ERA over an 11 year career, 8 of them with the Red Sox.

Ask 10 RSN members under 55 years old who Bill Monbouquette is and they typically will not know.  He doesn’t get his due.

He was the Ace of the Sox staff.  A four-time All-Star, he pitched a no-hitter in 1962 against the White Sox.   He tossed three one-hit games.  He set a club record with a 17 strikeout-game against the Washington Senators in 1961.

He played during an extended period of Sox failure.

He departed Boston after the ’65 season for Detroit, New York & San Francisco, thus missing the Impossible Resuscitation by a mere 2 years.

And that, my friends, is why few know who he is today.  He was not there when Yaz set New England ablaze.

++++++++++++++

When Fenway was Monbo’s home, the Sox were 581 – 688, finishing in 7th, 8th, or 9th place five times.

There was not a lot to look forward to then.   Ted Williams was there for the first 3 seasons.  The excellence of Dick Radatz was on display for a while.  Yaz was a budding star, a doubles guy, and a hit-for-average man.

Of course, Frank Malzone’s was there, too.  Malzone’s run in Boston parallels that of Monbouquette.  From 1955 to 1965, Malzone starred at 3rd Base.  He went to 6 ASG’s, hit .274, registered 239 doubles, and was cheated out of the 1957 ROY by Yankee fans that complained his 133 At Bats in 55-56 disqualified him.

And every 4th day, Monbo got his start and the Sox had a chance of getting a W.

“I pitched inside.  That’s how I made my living.  And you tried to get ahead of the batter.  What is it with these 2 – 0 and 3 – 1 counts with pitchers today ?  That’s when you’re forced to take something off your fastball and throw it over the plate, which is what they want.  You need to get ahead of the batter so you can get the out on your pitch, not his.”

+++++++++++++.

He made his major league debut on July 18, 1958 against TheTigers.  Billy Martin stole home on him that day.  In  Billy’s third time at bat, Monbo threw at him, flipping Martin over backwards.  The Rookie Righty then induced a pop out.  Next, Billy took steps toward the mound.  Monbo slipped the glove off his hand and made two fists.  Then Billy quipped, “You owed me that Rook.”, turned, and trotted off to his dugout.

Billy The Kid didn’t just steal home on the righthanded Monbo, he did it with two out and the Tiger pitcher, Milt Bolling, at the plate.  Billy must have read the Sox rookie like a book.

+++++++++++++.

This man from Medford was a control pitcher.  He had control of his pitches, and often his temper.

He walked 100 batters in 236 IP in 1961, but it was an aberration.  Typically, he made about 35 starts a year and walked 40 batters.

In 1965, he had a 3.70 ERA and somehow lost 18 games.

In 1963, he won 20 games and asked the Red Sox for a raise to bolster his $14,000 salary.

Even then, he didn’t get his due.

When he didn’t sign the contract for 1964 that GM Pinky Higgins had mailed to him, there was a public confrontation.  The fight ended with just one punch. Pinky hit the ground with his backside when Bill uncorked a right to the forehead.

Pinky got up and ordered Bill to meet him in his office the next day.  Bill reported as ordered.  A bodyguard was present.  Words were exchanged again.  Down to the floor went Pinky for a second time.

The fighting cost Monbo some of his leverage for 1964.

But Bill did negotiate a 33,000 salary for 1965, his last year in Boston.

+++++++++++++.

In 2007, Monbouquette was diagnosed with leukemia.  Chemotherapy and drug treatment didn’t work, but in October 2009, he celebrated the one year anniversary of a successful bone marrow and stem cell transplant.

Monbo is grey now, his face peppered with age.  He walks with a stiff gait. He has lost 37 pounds in his battle with cancer.  He says he feels good.

He pauses before answering a question, and begins to speak in a whisper, his volume rising as he gets to the end of the story.

“I was there for Ted Williams last game.  There was nobody there.  Maybe 4,000. They say it was more than that but there wasn’t.   Everyone thought Ted would probably go to New York for the last series of the season.  But I knew he wouldn’t go.”

“Everyone knows he hit that home run on his last at bat.  I was in the bullpen.  I watched it all the way and thought I’d catch it, but it kept going.  I was nowhere near it where it came down.”

“The thing people forget is that there was a stiff wind blowing that day.  Ted hit three balls HARD into that wind, and the wind knocked down the first two.  The third one got out. But he could have hit three that day.  I saw it.”

+++++++++++++.

Bill Monbouquette didn’t reach the post-season.  He missed the glory of ’67 by a smidge.  He is off the radar track of most Soxaholics.

But what he witnessed was wondrous.  And what he received, he earned.

And in the end, standing anonymously among us at age 73, traveled and wise, he is a strong and righteous man.

Advertisements

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury, RED SOX, Ted Williams | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: DEEP DRIVE Mike Lowell

Posted by athomeatfenway on December 26, 2008

deep-drive

DEEP DRIVE, A long journey to finding the champion within.  By Mike Lowell with Rob Bradford.  Foreword by Josh Beckett.    256 pages.  2008.  Celebra books.

 

This book is a great baseball story and an even better human one.

 

In Short – Lowell’s family are refugees from Castro, and he grows up a scrawny kid near Miami.  He works his ass off, turns the skinny build into a productive one.  599 guys are drafted in front of him, but he grows into the Yankee Organization Player of the Year before being traded to the Marlins.   Cancer interrupts his life TWICE.  Steroid rumors swirl but do not prevail.  He loses his swing.  He is betrayed by money grubbers.  He overcomes it all.

 

Lowell wins the World Series twice.  Lowell becomes a World Series MVP. 

 

Great Player.  Great Teammate.

 

It’s a great read and you should pick it up.

 

*******************

 

 

Lowell’s Dad, Carlos, at age 11, escaped from Cuba to Puerto Rico.  Carlos played baseball on the San Ignacio H.S. team.  He played his college ball at St. Joseph’s in Philly, where he tossed a no-hitter and won the MVP Award.  Carlos competed for the Puerto Rico National team.

 

Mike Lowell was raised in Florida where he changed High Schools when it became apparent he wouldn’t get adequate playing time while studying with the good Brothers at Christopher Columbus High School.  The last two spots in the batting order of the Christopher Columbus freshman team were historic.  Batting 8th and playing SS was Alex Rodriguez.  Batting 9th and playing second base was Lowell.

 

A-Rod transferred to Westminster H.S. due to a lack of playing time and Lowell left for Coral Gables H.S. for the same reason.  Imagine what Brother Herb Baker might say today about not having foreseen the potential of these future MLB All Stars.  According to this book, Baker was pretty stoic about it.

 

Before going to Florida International with close to a full ride, Lowell was recruited by Notre Dame assistant Coach Pat Murphy, who would later coach Dustin Pedroia at Arizona State.

 

After developing as a second baseman throughout High school and College, Mike was selected by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 1995 draft.  He was shocked when the Yankees informed him they intended to convert him to a catcher.

 

They didn’t stick with that decision after seeing what great hands he had at third.

 

Mike had little power at first.  He was underweight at Oneonta (NY Penn League) and Greensboro (A).  But in 1996 and 1997 he gained 25 pounds of muscle, batting .344 for half a season in Norwich (AA) and hitting 15 Homers in half a season in Columbus (AAA).  In 1998, he played 126 games for Columbus, batting .311 with 25 HR’s.  Mike made his MLB debut on 9-13-98 at Yankee Stadium in front of 47,471 fans.  He singled in his first at bat.  Although he was the starting 3rd baseman that day, he was behind Scott Brosius on the depth chart.  Still, he was the Yankees 1997 Organization Player of the Year and had a terrific 1998.  Thus, before the post-season, Lowell was told he would be the 1999 starting third baseman on the Yankees, unless Brosius won the World Series MVP, an unlikely possibility…..

 

……and that is exactly what occurred. 

 

Lowell was traded to his hometown Marlins on Feb. 1, 1999. 

 

He had no objection to playing in hometown Miami.

 

But within a month of the trade he was diagnosed with cancer.

 

1999 was a rollercoaster.  Traded, then diagnosed, he underwent surgery and chemo, was sent down to AAA to rehab, and was required to prove he was still major league capable in May. 

 

By Oct. 1, 1999, Mike had batted .253 with 12 home runs in 97 games and was informed he would be a starter for the 2000 squad.

 

“Surviving cancer was, and always will be, my toughest battle. I laugh when people talk about how tough it is to deal with the boos of fans….when cancer comes calling, baseball takes a backseat…having 40,000 people at Yankee Stadium tell me I suck is a nice diversion.”

 

 

NUGGETS

 

 

THE STORY OF “PAM”:  Lowell clarifies why MLB players might be wary about people pretending to be friends.  The story of “Pam”, a BFF of Bertica, his wife, makes the point.  Friends since they were age 15, “Pam” was injured in a car accident with Bertica at the wheel during Lowell’s rookie year.  At first unconscious, “Pam” recovered pretty quickly and all was well.  Some months passed, and then “Pam” stopped speaking with Bertica.  Suddenly, the Lowells were hit with a $1.2 Million law suit alleging pain and vision issues for “Pam”.  At that point, Lowell had made $60,000 total playing 4 years of pro ball and had $7,000 in the bank.  “Pam” and her attorney were stunned when Mike showed them his IRS returns.  The money grubbers slunk away.  They were not heard from again under after Mike signed a major contract the following year.  Ultimately, they sued for $600,000 and Lowell settled for half of that to put it behind them.  Unfortunately for Bertica, the emotional injury cast a shadow for two years.

 

 

THE IRON MAN  SONG:   Have you sat in Fenway wondering how the music dude selected Black Sabbath’s IRON MAN for Lowell’s at bats ?  Turn to page 161.  The story involves getting beaned in the noggin by Adam Loewen and then diving into the field boxes to make a catch in the top of the next inning.

 

BEING GROUNDED:  Mike Lowell is a grounded individual.  “I’ve always said that I play baseball but that is not who I am.  That’s part of who I am.  But I’d much rather be a good father, husband, friend and brother…the game is just what everyone sees, but there is so much more to me.”

 

As Jackie Kennedy said, “If you screw up raising your children, it really doesn’t much matter what else you achieve with the rest of your life.”

 

 

BE POSITIVE:   “You can choose to harp on negativity  — I certainly could have when cancer came calling, or when the hits were hard to find in 2005 – but if you choose the positive you’re going to get the most out of life.  It has worked for me, and I’m not about to stop now.”

 

 

 

AMERICA IS A PLACE TO START AGAIN:  Lowell’s family believed, achieved and overcame Communism & Cancer. 

 

The Seattle Mariners’ Don Wakamatsu today became the first person of Asian ethnicity to be a MLB Manager, rising above a different and regrettable form of oppression.

 

Lowell’s Dad and Father-in-Law were victimized by Castro. 

 

Wakamatsu’s grandparents were victims of the U.S. Government. 

 

They lost their home and were imprisoned in a World War II internment camp.

 

Baseball reflects America.  The good and the bad.

 

 

DEEP DRIVE is a story of family strength.   It’s a good read.  Tackle it and be rewarded.  Red My fellow Sox fans will be rewarded to know that though we lost Teixeira to the Yankees we have retained a man of singular character and skill.

MVP gets 2 cars & a Disney Parade !

MVP gets 2 cars & a Disney Parade !

Posted in BASEBALL, BASEBALL BOOKS, Boston Red Sox, Mike Lowell | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Reversing The Curse

Posted by athomeatfenway on December 22, 2008

reverse-art-1

REVERSING THE CURSE:  A Season in the Life of America’s Greatest Sports Rivalry.  By Dan Shaughnessy.  2005. 272 pages. Houghton Mifflin.

 

 

About 40 pages in, Shaughnessy lucidly recalls how young Theo submerged himself in professional baseball, postponing his driver’s license test for 7 years, living on McDonald’s, working 12 hour days, becoming a lawyer and climbing the ladder with preposterous speed.

 

At that point I thought, “This book is far better than I expected.”.

 

About 70 pages in, Shaughnessy quotes Halberstam’s summation of Red Sox fans, “It’s really very distinctive……I have maybe gotten into the artists and writers and poets of Red Sox Nation.  The fans are quite interesting and important and different……”

 

At that point, I started to feel like I owed Shaughnessy an apology for not reading his book sooner.

 

Should have known that the guy with total access to Theo and his minions would bring a book packed with inside stuff.

 

Should have known that the guy who can make about 800 words work three times a week would write one of the better books about the 2004 Red Sox.

 

Shaughnessy has serious writing chops.  On TV and in public he carries himself with reserve and courtesy.  He’s a polite guy.  Maybe even camera shy.  I am almost surprised he isn’t a little bit immodest.  He’s that good.

 

He has taken his hard shots at the Sox in the past, but not so in this book.

 

Nothing so cutting as the harpoon with which he speared Nomar on Aug. 1, 2004.  (As I remember it, he wrote that the clubhouse cancer had been removed.)

 

The sharpest criticism D.S. levels in REVERSING is to make it clear than Pedro Martinez did not attend team meetings, work outs or even arrive in the dug out for games he did not start  —– until the 7th inning !

 

During one critical series against the Yankees, he didn’t even come down with the team.  He waited until his start before making the 200 mile trip.

 

So, why did Tim Wakefield make the same trip promptly ?

 

“Because I wanted to be with my teammates.”, said, Wake.

 

That’s the contrast Shaughnessy strikes.  Pedro the Hall Of Fame Prima Donna versus  Wakefield the Team Guy.

 

Pedro had a negative effect on Manny.  After Pedro took an outrageous 6-day vacation in the middle of the season, Manny reported tightness in his hammy and took a few days off, too.  There had been no indications that anything was wrong with Manny.

 

Two feakishly talented slackers.   Two players that find themselves outside of the organization’s circle of love at the moment.

 

************ 

The portrait of Larry Lucchino in the book is titillating.  LL emerges as a fearless, F-bomb dropping, Yankee hating leader.  With a mind like a steel trap.

And yet, Lucchino has moments of doubt.

 

Larry’s moments of vulnerability came in game 4 and game 5 of the 2004 ALCS when the Sox were within a few outs of elimination.  Lucchino began scribbling notes for a speech.  As much as losing hurt, he would say that they were not vanquished, not defeated, and would come back with passion and a singular goal in 2005.

 

But things kept happening.  With the Yankees leading 4-3 in the 9th, Millar walked and Roberts stole second.  Lucchino put his notes in the desk of his luxury suite.  He settled in until Ortiz hit a 12th inning walk-off HR off Quantrill, making Larry’s speech at least temporarily moot.

 

The next night, down 4-2 in the 8th and back on the brink, Lucchino retrieved his note pad to re-draft his concession-without-submission speech.  But then Ortiz homered off Tom Gordon, a rally ensued, and Tek sacrificed in the game tying run..  Again, Lucchino put his notes back in the drawer.  He settled in to watch the completion of the 14 inning Sox victory, won when David’s gork dropped into Centerfield for a single.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see that incomplete draft of Lucchino’s speech.  It marks a desperate moment in Sox history and shines light into Larry’s character.  The darkest night comes just before the Dawn.

 

Call me a sick Soxaholic, but I just feel gratified to know about that draft.  If and when I meet Larry, I’ll be sure to ask about it.

 

Reversing The Curse is filled with such gold, excavated and preserved by the author.  I won’t ruin it for you b revealing more now. 

Even if you are prone to bashing Dan,  I recommend you read this book this winter.

 

You’ll be glad ya did.

 

theo-n-larry

The Author

The Author

Posted in BASEBALL, BASEBALL BOOKS, Boston Red Sox, Manny Ramirez, RED SOX | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Dustin Pedroia : His Coaches know why he is MVP

Posted by athomeatfenway on October 31, 2008

THE MVP, THE COACHES, THE BAT

This post was written one week before Dustin Pedroia was announced as the winner of  the 2008 Al MVP Award.

Artists paint and musicians compose.  Artists do their thang.  It comes from inside.  Who knows why. Only those closest to Dustin Pedroia know what is driving him to be the competitive, overachieving pride of Woodland, California.

Something burns inside Pedroia.

Don’t take my word for it.  Read what his Woodland High School Coaches & A.D. have to say……

5 VS. 1 IS A FAIR FIGHT

The Woodland Athletic Director

JOHN MORELLI is the current AD at Woodland H.S. in Woodland, California and knew Pedroia even earlier.   John recalls that in Jr. High, Dustin played shortstop, may have pitched his first year, showed versatility, and shined like a star throughout his entire youth career.

Pedroia is a 2001 graduate of Woodland High School where he was a three-time All-Delta League selection, never hit below .445, and captured league MVP honors.  He took All State and area honors multiple times.

Woodland is a farming community of under 60,000 residents located west of Sacramento.

Woodlanders read the Bee, but more often read the Daily Democrat.  High school kids read The Orange Peal.  Their farms produce corn, wheat, sunflower —  and tomatoes that end up in your ketchup bottle.
Mr.Morelli has seen the current Red Sox second baseman & MVP-contender play occasionally on regular TV.  John does not have cable, which gives him a Thoreau-like balance most of us lack.

When John thinks of Dustin’s MVP possibilities he says that it’s just plain fantastic to have a young man from Woodland succeeding in MLB on the highest level.
John says the MVP talk comes up in the faculty lounges, at the football games, the volleyball games, and elsewhere around Woodland.

John says Dustin has raised Woodland’s profile & made everyone proud.  It’s not every day a Woodland kid hits the pro’s, although the town was made proud by Tony Torcato.  Torcato batted .298 in 43 Games as a lefty corner outfielder for The SF Giants between 2002 and 2005.

John says Dustin stood out from the start.  When bombardment was played in gym class, the teachers marveled at how Pedroia did simultaneously avoid a ball, catch a ball, and throw yet another ball to knock a player out.  ALL SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Dustin’s coordination is so good that John Morelli was comfortable challenging him against a team of 5.

5 vs. 1.

Bombardment, in John’s opinion, is a good measuring tool and Dustin was one of the very best.

He never lost.

John says the scuttlebutt on Dustin in H.S. is just what it was in MLB, …he’s awful small, he hits well, he makes no errors, he reads situations well, he  runs well, he goes 110% all the time ……but it’s doubtful he will make it due to size…..

Based on what John Morelli knows of Pedroia’s 2008 performance and the competition for the award this year, the MVP has certainly been earned by DP in John’s mind.  He can’t imagine someone else taking it away.

HE NEVER GETS BEAT & IT’S C-O-N-T-A-G-I-O-U-S

The Woodland Assistant Coach

FELIX CASTILLO is the current Baseball Coach at Woodland.  He served as Assistant Coach when Dustin was there.  To Felix, Pedroia is a character guy.

Felix believes Pedroia is able to perform above his limited size, strength & speed due to his mental approach.  He has the talent, but he also has a contagious will to win.  Pedroia gets a team going in the right direction.  Anytime you can get a leader with his type of confidence and toughness it will be passed to his team mates.

With regard for the MVP consideration, Felix feels Pedroia’s numbers speak for themselves.  And when you consider that Manny Ramirez departed on July 31, it is even more remarkable how far Pedroia took the BoSox.  “I believe he’s got to be the guy who takes the MVP.”, says Castillo.

Felix suspects that what enables Dustin to perform above his limits is character. To paraphrase Felix:  It’s his confidence. He rises to the occasion, has mental confidence, Superstar guts.  Pedroia is driven only by winning so he plays with enthusiasm, and he never gets beat.  If he gets no hits in a game, he considers it a fluke.  And he’s big in a game 7 situation.

Felix touts Pedroia’s defense as phenomenal, endowed with incredible hand-eye, without great speed but with great range, has a knack for making plays you don’t see often, certainly deserving a Gold Glove Award this year.

How does Felix feel about Dustin as an MVP candidate ?  “It couldn’t  happen to a better guy.”
Felix’s best memory of a Pedroia performance is the famous Clovis game.  Rob Rinaldi will share the details next…….

HE WAS GOING TO FIND A WAY TO WIN.

The Baseball Coach

ROB RINALDI, Baseball Coach when Dustin was at Woodland, is eloquent about Dustin’s MVP credentials:  “Clearly I’m not objective…he should win…he’s a difference  maker in so many ways…..he’s an iron man while others get hurt…guys in the clubhouse see it and respect it…. He works long pitch counts and has the fire everyday……..last (rookie) year they were going to have him bat 9th and play defense and he went way above and beyond expectations….”

Rinaldi coached Dustin’s older brother, Brett.  Little Dustin came to Brett’s High School practices as a Little Leaguer.  As he took BP with the older boys, “he thought he was as good as the varsity guys, he wanted it at the same speed, and hit liners all over the field.  He was a Switch then, dabbling as a lefty hitter.”

Rob recalls that Dustin was the Quarterback of the Freshman Football team.  As a QB, Pedroia couldn’t run, but was a great leader.  Dustin broke his leg on the gridiron, so severely broke it that Dustin didn’t join Frosh Baseball until mid-year, and then he played hobbled.

Even hobbled, it took just two games for Rob to realize that Pedroia was the best among many good baseball players.  The injury ended Dustin’s football career and pre-empted one as a basketball point guard, another position at another sport for which he showed promise.

Outstanding among the memories at Woodland High was Dustin’s performance in a game against Clovis at the 2001 National Classic, the biggest High School Baseball Tournament of them all.  Clovis had already won two mythical National titles & were inherently regarded with respect.  Clovis had an extremely talented shortstop that Rinaldi had coached in camp the prior year.  All year long, Rinaldi told Pedroia that the Clovis shortstop was of the highest caliber, building up the kid for 12 months until the day Clovis and Woodland checked into the same hotel before playing in the National Classic Consolation Game.  Rinaldi said that when Pedroia learned the Clovis shortstop was in the house he blurted, “Which guy is he ? Go get him right now. I want to take grounders in the parking lot against him.”

The competitive fires burn with this guy.

Rob recalls that the Clovis kid had a great game.  But the game Pedroia had was singular.  First, Dustin put his team up 1-0 to the shock of the other team by scoring on a tag up from 3rd on a foul pop caught in front of one of the dugouts.  Who the tags up and beats a throw from 90 feet ?  A heady play. Next, with Woodland down 3-1 in the top of the 7th (and final) inning,  Pedroia hits a 3-run homer to create a 4-3 lead.   Last, in the field for the final 3 outs in the bottom of the 7th, Dustin starts a difficult double play, and then registers the 3rd out, closing out Clovis.

He was going to find a way to win.

He was going to show that Clovis kid who was better.

Rob makes the point that while Pedroia is the picture of competitiveness on the field, away from the field he is a great guy….no conceit or arrogance.

Bring him to Boston.  Let him do his thang.  Before you know it, he’ll be running the place.

The College Coach

ASU's Pat Murphy

ASU's Pat Murphy

I regret to say that schedules didn’t permit ASU Coach PAT MURPHY to speak with me, but Murphy graciously answered a few questions by email.

Question: Why is it Pedroia is able to perform above his limited size, strength & speed ?

Coach Murphy: Because his belief system is the best.

Question: What are your thoughts about Pedroia getting MVP consideration this year ?

Coach Murphy: He will win it.
Question: What is the most memorable performance or event involving Pedroia at ASU ?

Coach Murphy: Not just one! He was awesome for 3 years, every day.

A FEW QUESTIONS THAT REPEAT AND REPEAT

Athomeatfenway.com is repeatedly asked several questions about Dustin Pedroia.  The questions pertain to Dustin’s ethnicity, and the specs of the bat he swings.  Here are some reactions from the Coaches.

WHAT BAT DOES DUSTIN PEDROIA SWING ?

There’s a mystery about Dustin’s lumber.  Listed at 5’9”, assumed widely to be 5’6” tall, his bat looks disproportionately large for a small player.  With his height in dispute, speculation on bat specs become uncertain, too.

The Coaches, who should know better than anyone, made educated guesses.

Felix Castillo:  32 or 33 inches long weighing 30 oz.
Rob Rinaldi: 32.5 inches long weighing 31 oz.
Coach Murphy: 33 ½ inches in length, weighing 31 oz

Based on a little inside info from Rob, I’ll bet on the Rinaldi answer.

DUSTIN PEDROIA :  ETHNICITY

We get questions like “Is Dustin Pedroia Italian ?” every week presumably from fans who are Italian themselves and hope to confirm they share the same heritage.  In various conversations with Woodland folk who know Dustin, the speculation is that he is of Spanish, and/or Portugese and/or Italian heritage.

He’s the quintessential American then, isn’t he ?

Well, that clears it up.  Doesn’t it ?

PEDROIA OR HAMILTON

Josh Hamilton had a terrific year.  He topped Dustin in RBI, homers, triples, BB, Slugging & striking out.  Dustin beat Hamilton in B.A., Hits, Runs, doubles, stolen bases, sacrefice hits and to the bad side, grounding into double plays..  The Stats:

Hamilton played for team without a pitching staff.

Dustin carried a team that suffered a frequent lack of timely hitting.  He fueled the Sox after Manny left.

Hamilton is a basher, and basher’s get the benefit of the doubt with MVP voters.

Hamilton’s personal story is one of addiction-recovery and religous-discovery over the 3 years.

Pedroia’s personal story is one of achieving beyond all expectations for a lifetime.

Hamilton is worthy of MVP votes.

But he’s no Dustin Pedroia.

What we see with Pedroia is like what we saw with Tony Gwynn.  Gwynn lacked the body and speed to be a HOFer & Batting King, but he sure did do it.

Pedroia may be in the process of defining the post-steroid All Star.  We’ll soon find out. His canvas is just partially completed.

Although none of his Coaches can be charged with impartiality, they are nonetheless correct.

The little guy has got to be the MVP.

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, RED SOX | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Youkilis Makes Dreams come True for Kids

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 19, 2008

  

Enza and Tom in FB 29

Enza and Tom in FB 29

Aug. 17, 2008

Fenway 

 

 

Youk’s fiancé, Enza Sambataro, leaned over the dugout wall and spoke with Kevin before the game started, chatting  in a certain way that couples do, and I soon said hello and congrats to her on their upcoming nuptials.
Enza was seated with a family including what appeared to be a Dad and two under-12 boys, one of whom wore the burden of a serious illness.
Later, a veteran usher told me that the infirmed child had brain cancer, though he couldn’t swear to it.
What I can swear to is that Youk gave that kid an autographed game used bat. 
More dramatically, Youk bashed a 3-1 fastball for a 4th inning HR.
He then flew around the bases and stopped at Field Box 29, reaching into the second row to high five that kid.
Youk homers, heads for Christian
“Buddy, that one was for you.”, he told the boy, Christian Meyer, who is being treated for brain cancer at Mass General.

This was a pretty touching scene, friends.  The wizened baseball bugs to my right side were stunned to see the beefy Youk stop dead in his trot to the dugout and reach out and touch that kid.
What middle-aged cynical fan hasn’t said, Gee, if it was me, I’d be thankful for every penney, and I’d give back to kids and community in spades.
Youk and Enza are giving back.  And Youk is pretty much doing what others say they’d do in his position.
Here is a telling quote from their web-site:
“I am living out my childhood dream, and it is due in no small part to the tremendous support of my family, friends and community.  Now I am in the position to foster safe, nurturing, healthy environments for today’s children, and I can’t imagine backing away from that opportunity.”
-Kevin Youkilis
If you have daughters or are just generally fashion inclined, you might invest $50 charitable dollars to attend their Fashion Show in Natick this Thursday, August 21.
Details for that event are on the above web-site.  There is also a charity Comedy event at Mohegan Sun and a charity Golf Tournament in Sterling, Mass. — coming up quickly.

All proceeds go to support Enza and Kevin’s chosen charities, Christopher’s Haven, The Italian Home For Children and Joslin Pediatric Health Services.

Payday is Friday for many of us.  Join me if you can in making a contribution on the web-site to help kids and show your Sox colors.  

"That one's for you, buddy !"

Youk: Buddy, that one was for you !

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis, Youkilis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »