Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Crow Tastes Awesome!

A little over a year ago, I was in Yankees Stadium to see the second game of a Sox/Yankees doubleheader, becoming witness to one of the more improbable and exciting comebacks of the 2006 season, in what turned out to be the last gasp for a Boston team that was past due for the fork in the back. The second game was Dustin Pedroia's 21st game after his call up in late August, and he was mired in the struggle that would haunt him through the beginning of 2007, with an OPS of .489 that was remarkable only because it had doubled in 11 days. There were two Boston fans in the stands nearby who kept calling him DP (as memory serves, he did hit into a lot of double plays), and who led the ironic cheer when he jumped the pass ball that scored the tying run. That was Boston's second baseman of the future, pride of the farm system: a short guy with a big swing who couldn't seem to buy a hit.

Two months later, the Sox announced Pedroia would be starting at second or shortstop in 2007, sight poorly seen. Robin was outraged, I was surprised, and our friend DC...well, DC was outraged, so we let him write about it, and give Pedroia a new nickname (Wonderboy) in the process. Wonderboy indeed; it seemed like most of us couldn't figure out why Theo was so high on his potential for success in his first full season.

We all know what happened next: a miserable April, a whole month of Sox fans calling for Pedroia's head, for Francona's head, for Theo's head, for Alex Cora to start...the typical paranoia and venom of the passionate fan. No finger pointing here: our archives from April are full of it. Then Magic May, steady improvement, and all of the sudden the Kid Who Couldn't is making all of us naysayers look very, very foolish; OPS always above .800, strong fielding with more than a few web gems, a string of post-season hits that were usually likely to touch off a rally, playing with a cracked bone in his hand...any Boston fan who wasn't chanting Rookie of the Year by August wasn't right in the head. The Baseball Writers Association of America agreed, awarding Pedroia the AL Rookie of the Year award for the 2007 season yesterday, making him the first Red Sox to win the award in ten years, and the first qualifying rookie second baseman to hit .317 for the season.

Congratulations, Dustin. We'll all go eat this delicious plate of crow, never so happy to be wrong about something in our lives.