It was last Sept. 28, three hours before a game in Baltimore, and Dustin Pedroia was standing in the Red Sox dugout, teaching a seminar on talking trash.
“Don’t hit the ball my way tonight!” Pedroia yelled to Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. “I’m telling you right now, if you hit it my way, you’re out. You are out!”
Seated nearby, Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen was incredulous.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, Pedey, we’ve lost 89 games and (the Orioles) are going to the playoffs,’ ” Hazen recalled. “Then he turned and started screaming at me: ‘I don’t care how many games we’ve lost. I don’t care. That guy is out!’ ”
Pedroia laughed yesterday at a retelling of that story. After all, it was classic Pedroia, who never fails to act as though he has just chugged one too many bottles of 5-Hour Energy. Like the Energizer bunny, his motor keeps going and going.
But the episode in Baltimore meant so much more. Pedroia isn’t merely the Red Sox’ All-Star second baseman. He is their answer to Derek Jeter, the player they hold up as an example for impressionable prospects and peg as the centerpiece of what general manager Ben Cherington often calls “the next great Red Sox team.”
And with his outburst at Jones, or by playing last season’s final meaningless games despite a broken pinky finger and an injured thumb, Pedroia was trying to tell his teammates that last year’s debacle was unacceptable.
“This is my life,” Pedroia told the Herald yesterday. “As a team, we spend more time together than with our normal families. I don’t want to have another season of losing 90-whatever games. That’s not going to happen.”
New year excites Dustin Pedroia
Boston Herald | Feb 13