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.