Tag Archives: Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox Fanboy Flashback: Dustin Pedroia Once Said “Hi” to Me in a Hotel Lobby

Would an injury-free Dustin Pedroia have made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame? (Image source: Boston Red Sox)

Following a few heartbreaking seasons of insurmountable injuries, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia announced his retirement from baseball today. As a tribute, I’d like to share this fun CNN commentary (“I am a Red Sox fanboy“) I wrote about the time I once made direct eye contact with Dustin in a Tampa hotel lobby.

I might be wrong, but in the swirl of mixed emotions on his Retirement Day, I suspect that Dustin may not be wistfully recalling the same memory.

Documented for posterity (for both Red Sox historians and my descendants browsing Ancestry.com), here is a description of our chance encounter in the lobby of the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel:

NIGHT ONE, 11:30 pm – I spot a diminutive bearded guy briskly walking toward me. It’s second baseman Dustin Pedroia, the 2008 AL MVP. “Hey, good game tonight!” I say. Dustin is wearing headphones and could have pretended to be absorbed by the music. But he turns back, stares at me with the same intensity he reserves for Justin Verlander, and says “Thanks.” It was “thanks” with a period, not an exclamation point. But it was a long day and he certainly didn’t lack any enthusiasm on the field. And then, just like in “Field of Dreams,” he vanishes.

And a follow-up sighting of another Boston legend the next day in almost the same exact spot:

DAY TWO, 2 pm – Near the front desk’s complimentary jellybean bar, I see the greatest Red Sox pitcher of all time, the retired Pedro Martinez, blankly staring in my direction. I give him a friendly nod, the kind guys silently exchange in the halls at work or at the gym. He doesn’t pick up on the signal, so I don’t bother to tell him that the jellybeans are free. Free! Then, just like a regular person, Pedro checks into his room. I never saw Pedro again.

So if you are also just dying to know whether David Ortiz is a good tipper, or which member of the 2013 World Championship Red Sox likes deep sea fishing, you can read that kind of on-the-ground intel here.

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Are we bad luck charms for the 2015 Boston Red Sox?


Consider this: Every time that Erik and I have posed with the Dustin Pedroia height chart at Fenway Park, he has gone on the disabled list. Mere minutes after this photograph was taken, the Sox second baseman pulled his hamstring.

Granted, this has only happened once, but I wonder if we might be bad karma for the 2015 last-place Red Sox?

I say this despite once having the following riveting conversation with Pedroia in a hotel lobby:

Me: “Hey, good game tonight!”

Pedroia: (Making direct eye contact) “Thanks.”

That historic moment was documented on CNN if you’d like to learn more.


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David Ortiz Ate Here: Confessions of a Grown-Up Red Sox Fanboy

Read "I Am a Red Sox Fanboy," my opinion column for CNN.com, by double clicking Dustin Pedroia's beard.

Read “I Am a Red Sox Fanboy,” my column for CNN.com, by double clicking Dustin Pedroia’s beard.

Journalism has brought me close up with political leaders, CEOs, inventors, scientists, actors, musicians and even Squiggy from “Laverne & Shirley” fame.

But only baseball players can make me feel 12 years old again.

Timed for the World Series, I wrote a fun column for CNN.com about the thrill of spotting Red Sox players out of uniform — without the help of baseball cards.

Here’s a sneak peek:

“Is baseball hothead David Price right? Are the millions of us who never pitched beyond Little League just a bunch of starstruck wannabes?

During the American League Divisional Series, the Tampa Bay Rays star lashed out at the media after giving up seven earned runs in seven innings. “Nice questions, nerds!” he hissed at reporters. Then Price got mean. On Twitter, he called Sports Illustrated scribe Tom Verducci a nerd who wasn’t even a water boy in high school.” He stopped there, passing up the temptation to mock Verducci’s prom date or how much he can bench press.

Price’s snotty attitude exists for one reason. Many of my fellow baseball nuts DO think players are cooler than the rest of us. The fact is, no matter how successful we may be in our professional lives, many of us would instantly trade in our careers for a (your team here) uniform.”

Oddly, a tongue-in-cheek column like this has attracted some angry comments directed at Boston and Bostonians. I know writers are advised to NEVER read the anonymous comments beneath their stories, but I always touch the Third Rail.

Check out my column, “I am a Red Sox Fanboy,” and please share it with fellow baseball fans. Even though it’s focused on the Sox, you really could fill in the blanks with players from your favorite team — or characters from any celebrity watching endeavor for that matter.

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Filed under Celebrity Watching, CNN Columns, Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock, Sports

Beyond Crappy Bosses: Favorite Obscure Tidbits Mined from the New Terry Francona Book

Literary Overdose? Red Sox Dominance on my Bookshelves.

Literary Overdose:  Sox Dominance on my Bookshelves.

Based on my stockpile of baseball books, my home could be turned into the Red Sox Library of Congress. A quick snapshot of the Boston volumes on my shelves:

* Idiot by Johnny Damon.
* Deep Drive by Mike Lowell with Rob Bradford.
* Big Papi by David Ortiz with Tony Massarotti.
* Now I Can Die in Peace by Bill Simmons.
* Why Not Us? by Leigh Montville.
* Ted Williams by Leigh Montville.
* Watching Baseball by Jerry Remy.
* Have Globe, Will Travel by Bill Lee and Richard Lally.
* Red Sox Where Have You Gone?  by Steve Buckley.

That doesn’t even count all my other baseball books like Designated Hebrew by Ron Blomberg and Dan Schlossberg, and Big Hair & Plastic Grass by Dan Epstein. If unauthorized autobiographies for Orlando Cabrera, Randy Kutcher and Jack Brohammer ever come out, you can be sure I will be first at the book signings.

How many books about the Terry Francona Red Sox can one guy really read? I leaped on the ex-manager’s memoir as soon as it came out because I felt he was unceremoniously treated like crap and scapegoated on his way out of Boston. I was thrilled when I saw this billboard in Kenmore Square, only a few steps away from the Popeye’s Chicken restaurant favored by Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey:

Ballsy Billboard for Francona's Revenge

Ballsy Billboard for Francona’s Revenge

Yet, although I’ve always respected Terry Francona, he’s always bored me. Over the years, his press conference answers were straight out of the Bull Durham Cliche School and he cared more about keeping peace in the clubhouse than speaking his mind.  It’s definitely worth the $17 — less than a Fenway bleacher seat — to “listen” to him let loose on his unappreciative bosses and the occasional player (read: MANNY) who treated him like crap.

As is often the case, the big revelations in the book were leaked before the publicity tour, but I found the minutia fascinating. A few favorite snippets:

1. At the 2007 World Series, security at the Colorado Rockies park refused to believe that diminutive Dustin Pedroia was a Major League ballplayer:

Page 193 (Click to enlarge)

Page 193 (Click to enlarge)

2. Pete Rose was a Mean Boss:

Page 243 (Click to enlarge)

Page 243 (Click to enlarge)

3. A Burned Down Bridge Can’t Be Burned Any Further:

Page 342 (Click to enlarge)

Page 342 (Click to enlarge)

4. You Never Know What You’ll Overhear in the Verizon Wireless Store: 

Page 333 (Click to enlarge)

Page 333 (Click to enlarge)

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Slaughtered by the Splendid Splinter: Why did Ted Williams’ hunting trophies go so cheap?

A dead animal killed by Ted Williams is not worth any more than a dead animal killed by me or you.

A dead animal killed by Ted Williams is not worth any more than a dead animal killed by me or you.

Red Sox obsession would dictate, that in New England anyway, a dead animal killed by Ted Williams would be a lot more valuable than a dead animal killed by a non-celebrity hunter.

That’s not what happened at yesterday’s estate auction from Dolores Wettach Williams, the third wife of Teddy Ballgame who was a former Miss Vermont and Vogue magazine fashion model.

She was also unhappily married for nearly every moment of her 1967-73 run with Ted, according to Leigh Montville’s fascinating book, “Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero.” Montville claims that Williams only married the fashion model because he had gotten her pregnant.

But back to these insanely low taxidermy prices.

North American decapitated deer have recently sold on eBay from a low of $46 to a high of $3,350. My deer-hunting neighbor, Dave, tells me the 8-point buck head in his living room cost him $450 to stuff.

You mean to tell me that the African buffalo ashtrays that Williams had sent to his Texas Rangers manager office are worth $330 less than Neighbor Dave’s wall trophy? Or comparing heads to heads, that a Williams-slaughtered 8-point buck is worth $160 to Neighbor Dave’s $450?

The cape buffalo killed by Ted sold for $550. Another decapitated African buffalo that hangs in a New York Stock Exchange social club has a $1,200 pricetag. No way those rich stockbrokers have more celebrity value than the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.

Baseball nuts just must not want carcasses hanging next to their Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis posters.

I’m all for hunters who eat the meat, but I’m willing to bet that Ted never had Zebra stew or Kudu casserole. And there’s something excessively smug about these posed “conquest” safari photos that accompanied the auctioned beasts:

Ted kills a Greater Kudu in 1972

Ted kills a Greater Kudu in 1972

Ted kills an African cape buffalo in 1972.

Ted kills an African cape buffalo in 1972.



Dads, pay attention to your kids. If you get lazy about it, consider the case of Ted Williams, who reportedly did not show up to the hospital for the births of son John-Henry and daughter Claudia.

Claudia wound up churning out gloomy-themed oil paintings that focus on death, death, death and death. Her work reminds me of a scene from the brilliant professional wrestling documentary, “Beyond The Mat.” Jake the Snake’s daughter keeps scrawling the word “Hate” in her diary to express anger at her usually absent father.

Most of her paintings went unsold to a snickering audience. And the auctioneers mockingly offered to toss in complimentary cups of hot chocolate to anyone who’d make any bid on her stuff. If I were in Claudia’s shoes, I would rather burn my work than have it subject to this level of ridicule. Lucky for her, she wasn’t present for the bidding.

Here’s a creepy oil painting that didn’t sell despite its pseudo-intellectual title, “A Momentary Lapse of Reason.”


The auction catalogue says it is an example of “modern surrealism” and is inspired by Picasso.

It cautiously avoids the words “depressing,” and “suicidal,” two themes to keep away from your fireplace mantel.

Toward the end of the auction, I couldn’t resist plunking down $11.50 on this beauty, which the auctioneer sneered was a knockoff of a Star Trek alien:


The picture is inspirationally titled, “Portrait of a Woman in Agony.” Hallmark cards will be banging on Claudia’s door any minute.

I have bold philanthropic plans for this painting. It’s either headed for a museum or my office Yankee Swap/ White Elephant party. And only you can decide its fate.

Click here to vote on where “Portrait of a Woman in Agony” will cheer up humanity next.

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Filed under Overpriced Souvenirs, Red Sox Schlock