Thanks to a "virtual" snow day, I'm able to break this news in a much more timely fashion than I would on a normal school/work day, but you wouldn't know that with the amount of time I've spent debating how to attack this blog.
Do I go boring, boiler place, "list of accomplishments, long time Red Sox 2nd Baseman, Dustin Pedroia has announced his retirement, blah, blah, blah" or give you that old school DOL realness that the people are yearning for? I'm gonna make the decision for the both of us and go with the latter.
See, I love Dustin Pedroia; I had a Muddy Chicken bumper sticker on my car for years. Dude was a fucking quote machine, I loved the La Luna saga with Don and btw, he played the hell out of 2nd base for over a decade.
I reaaally want to give Pedey and his career the acknowledgment that they rightfully deserve, but at the same time, going down Red Sox memory lane when I cannot avoid the Mookie Betts sized hole in my heart that caused me to forget/black out almost 20 years of passionate Red Sox fandom brings up a plethora of unwanted emotions and feelings that I really wasn't trying to address today.
Despite my current distain for this ownership group, I'll always love Dustin Pedroia and what he meant to the fans. In honor of his grit, I'm going to battle through it; just like he battled through countless injuries, leaving it all on the field day-after-day, playing the best defensive second base these two eyes have ever seen until his knees blew up like AJ Soprano's Xterra.
Can't teach that type of instincts and baseball IQ. That 4th of July play against the Rangers may have been the best of his entire career which is really saying something considering how broken down Pedey was at this point (2017).
At maaaaybe 5 foot 9, Pedroia had to truly battle to get to the big leagues. At Arizona State, he competed with future big leaguer and fellow "member" of the 2018 Red Sox, Ian Kinsler for the starting Shortstop job. Pedey won and Kinsler transferred. He left ASU as one of the best baseball Sun Devils ever.
I remember watching Dustin when he got called up in late '06 and was rocking #64 like a pulling guard. That following season when he was given #15, I couldn't believe the Sox would give away the great Kevin Millar's digits so soon. Then when he was struggling in early 2007, like most fans, I wanted Alex Cora in the line up everyday. After a rough April, Pedey went on to hit .315/.380/.442 with 39 doubles in a Rookie of the Year campaign that saw the Red Sox win their second World Series title in four years.
Pedey and Youk during the 2007 ALCS
Pedroia won the 2008 American League MVP, four Glove Gloves, a Sliver Slugger and was a four time All Star; highlighted by three straight trips from 2008-2010 who ended up being one of the greatest Red Sox players of the last 50 years.
Pedey still put up solid numbers from 2011-2017, but a broken foot in 2010 the day after hitting three home runs against the Rockies will always have me thinking "what if?" with his career and the trajectory of those early 2010s Red Sox teams. He was on a HOF pace and could've easily been a 5-7x All Star. In 2013, Dustin Pedroia finished 7th in the AL MVP race while helping lead the Red Sox to another World Series title with a broken bone in his hand.
It's easy to focus on the disappointing ending to Pedroia's career where his body couldn't hold up anymore, but during his peak, Pedroia was one of, if not the best second baseman in MLB (graphic stolen from ESPN); he’s the very reason Mookie Betts plays RF and not 2B.
His willingness to keep competing and never quitting cost him the vaunted "career .300 hitter" label. It's an absolute shame he's going to end up a career .299 hitter, but I bet if you asked Pedey, he's glad he kept trying to earn that contract.... that Red Sox fans just can't help but harp on given the longterm effects it had on this suddenly penny-pinching organization.
It's utterly unfair to blame Pedroia for the Red Sox no longer caring about putting the best product on the field as possible. He earned every cent of that contract and twice in his career took less money to stay in Boston and famously said he didn't care because he's "rich as fuck". He loved being a Red Sox.
I'll always love Pedey and cherish what he meant to me and all Red Sox fans during his playing career. Personally, this really feels like the official end of my days where I lived and breathed Red Sox baseball. Dustin was that lone connection to the Theo and Tito days that made me fall in love with this game. After Trot Nixon left for Cleveland, Pedroia filled the role of "dirt dog" magnificently. Sure, there's still players on the roster that I liked prior to my divorce from the Red Sox fandom in 2020 like Rafael "Baby Beluga" Devers, but it's not even close to the same as Pedey.
Yes, you could say Pedroia probably should've retired three years ago or there was some "unnecessary drama" towards the end, but 15 earned the right to try and play after all he gave for over a decade. Even though his contract greatly impacted the way the Boston "don't wanna spend a Red cent" Sox go about business nowadays, I'm glad Pedey was able to take John Henry to the cleaners.
LOL JK he's a billionaire and that pocket change literally doesn't matter to him just like the luxury tax for one season wouldn't have mattered either.
Dustin Pedroia was exactly what you want out of a pro ball player and I wish him nothing but the best in retirement. I'm sure the Red Sox will find a way to squeeze every cent out of this news while also increasing prices, but Pedey 100% deserves his number retired. While I don't think he'll end up making Cooperstown, he had a legit chance if his body just held up. Goodbye, Pedey. Thanks for the memories, 15.
Advanced numbers may say otherwise towards Pedey's HOF candidacy.