Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bobby's Back

You know why I love following baseball? It's not the big stars; while they're fun to watch, their exploits are everyone's fare, including the uninitiated and the bandwagoner who wouldn't know a utility infielder or an unsung clubhouse hero from a hole in the wall. No, I love following baseball for the moments when I'm talking to a long-time Red Sox fan and make a reference to Troy O'Leary or Tom Brunansky or Jody Reed or Lou Merloni and the moment of recognition, where the long-forgotten name surfaces back to the consciousness and brings back a flood of memories that hit the face like a sledgehammer. A slow smile spreads across their face (or doesn't, if we're talking about someone like Jose Offerman), and they say, "oh yeah...I remember [that guy]..." and we've bonded over something.

Bobby Kielty fits into that class of players - a guy who came to Boston to fill a backup role, had enough success to make him a bit of a go to guy when the outfield fell apart in August, motivated Robin to talk in a Jamaican accent when speaking of his exploits, and established a cult hero legacy amongst those of us who know best by pinch hitting the home run that won the World Series. Rest assured: Bobby Kielty will be one of those guys we remember 20 years from now during a night of drinking and BSing about the Sox.

And now he might be coming back for another go, backing up Ellsbury in what will hopefully the young outfielder's triumphant rookie season. Non-guaranteed $800,000 contract, fighting for a roster spot with Coco Crisp? Sounds like Bobby's got a good chance of making his Boston legacy grow.