Advertisement
  1. Archive

SOLVING SOME RED SOX MYSTERIES

...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

What is up with Kevin Youkilisê batting stance? What is Jonathan Papelbon mumbling out there? Why does David Ortiz spit in his hands? Dustin Pedroia cannot possibly be 5 feet 9, can he? What are Pedroia and manager Terry Francona doing?
The 29-year-old infielder worked his way through the Red Sox system as a .300 hitter using a conventional stance and held his own in his first three seasons with the big club. But midway through last season, he transformed it into something peculiar and memorable: his right hand high up on the barrel of the bat and slowly easing down as the pitcher prepares to pitch and his knees bouncing and bouncing and bouncing. The change was made for no particular reason, but Youkilis said it has since developed into a timing mechanism. It has worked. This year, he was sixth in the American League with a career-best .312 average and hit a career-best 29 home runs. He wonêt tell anyone. If itês anything like Rays reliever Grant Balfourês motivational mutterings, itês pretty good stuff, but weêll apparently never know. At Fenway Park, he makes a ritual of fist-bumping Boston policeman Billy Dunn, a former gang unit cop who guards the Sox pen, as he prepares to enter the game. Papelbon stops at the grass for his words of inspiration and readies to pitch to the Dropkick Murphys song Iêm Shipping Up to Boston. The designated hitter doesnêt get too much liquid in there, otherwise heêd spatter himself and anyone near the plate. Itês more a habit at this point. Reporters who have stood next to the diminutive second baseman/potential MVP/firecracker say itês more like 5-6, but he plays way bigger. And his ego plays bigger, too. Heês not maliciously cocky, but for someone who claims he doesnêt look at his stats, heês certainly getting that superior sense of pride from somewhere. Manny Ramirez, who purchased some suits for Pedroia during his first season, presented him with a Rolex worth $10,000-$15,000 for winning the 2007 Rookie of the Year Award. Ramirez promised more swag if Pedroia hit .300 this year. That mark more than covered (.326 in the regular season), Pedroia should hope Ramirez follows through after he was traded to the Dodgers late this season. They play cribbage every day at 1 p.m.
Why does catcher Jason Varitek have a C on his jersey? Where did that guy who pitched a no-hitter in his second big-league start go? Is the Red Sox bullpen about to board us? Whatês up with Jacoby Ellsburyês one right sleeve? Are the Red Sox just a bunch of thumpers trying to clang balls off of the Green Monster?
Heês the team captain. Clay Buchholz, who threw the 17th no-hitter in team history in September 2007, was shipped to the minors twice this season and is pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He also has been shipped out by his Penthouse Pet girlfriend, Erica Ellyson. Now that hurts. He still has his English bulldog "Nuke" - as in LaLoosh from Bull Durham. And one must hope he comprehends the irony. Avast. Boston relievers have adopted a Pirates of the Caribbean theme at the urging of veteran right-hander Mike Timlin and hang a Jolly Roger in the bullpen at Fenway Park. The 25-year-old centerfielder began wearing the single pull-on sleeve (itês not attached to the shirt but more like a sock with open ends) at Double-A Portland last year and went on a tear then discarded it and hit the skids. He put it back on. Apparently not one to learn a lesson quickly, he repeated the process at Triple-A Pawtucket and after a callup to Boston: raking, removing, slumping, sleeving. No, they do many things well. Infielders Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis were among the AL leaders in batting, doubles, hits, on-base percentage and total bases during the regular season, and Jacoby Ellsbury led the league in steals (50).

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement