In the spirit of graduation and yearbook season (congrats Hebron, Trinity, and Kennett Classes of 2009!), I decided to write up a list of Red Sox superlatives, based on their respective seasons thus far. This has the added bonus of getting me out of talking about today's debacle of a game. Here goes:
Best Facial Hair: Kevin Youkilis
Mark Kotsay might be upset about this one, but how can you argue with a beard that has it's own Twitter account and YouTube videos? Youk's goatee is one of the most recognizable physical features of the team, and it would be remiss of me not to recognize its magnificence.
Most Confident: Dustin Pedroia
Another no-brainer. Have you ever seen a ballplayer with more swagger than the Sox second-baseman? You just know Pedroia spent the entire game trying to convince Tito to put him in, despite the 0-for7 night he recently had, which qualifies as a slump for the feisty #15. Add in that ad he recorded for MLB 09: The Show, and Pedey is dangerously close to bypassing confident and embracing arrogant... but I love it.
Most Likely to Overcome Adversity: Nick Green
You just can't root against Green. He had to have been third or even fourth on the Sox depth chart at short coming into Spring Training, and all of a sudden, Lugo needs knee surgery, and Lowrie needs wrist surgery. Green fills in adequately, and when Lugo returns, steps it up a notch. I can't be the only one disappointed when BooHoolio Lugo plays at short over Green, can I?
Most Respected: Mike Lowell
Face it, Mikey just looks like an elder statesman. At the tender age of 35, Lowell has that salt-and-pepper hair and beard combination that every successful diplomat needs, as well as the coveted ability to speak fluently in both English and Spanish. Add that to the fact that he has an inspirational life story, and the man just cannot be insulted. (READ HIS BOOK!)
Biggest Baby: Julio Lugo
Lugo has done several media interviews lately where he laments he lack of playing time, and admits to being upset over the fact that he is constantly lambasted by fans and reporters alike. This just in, BooHoolio, but if they didn't care about harmony in the clubhouse, your pitching staff would have given you an atomic wedgie, followed by a stern talking-too from Wake, complete with interjections of profanity from Beckett. But, yes, Lugo, we feel your pain: you're not good enough to play everyday, yet you're being paid like Nomar in his heyday... Boo-freakin'-hoo.
Most Resilient: Jason Varitek
The Captain has enjoyed an impressive renaissance, at least at the plate, and it appears that he is trying his darnedest to prove those naysayers wrong. To his credit, Varitek doesn't like to talk about his new found successes with the bat, and prefers to emphasize his work with the pitching staff. If anyone will end his career in Boston (beside Tim Wakefield), it should be Jason Varitek... But with his agent, who knows?
Most Popular: David Ortiz
Have Boston fans ever supported a player as unconditionally as they have supported Big Papi this season? After 2004, many fans feel as though they owe their sanity to good old #34, and they may very well be right. Despite the hellacious slump endured by the slugger this season, the fans have stood by him. Are the curtain calls after each home run ridiculous and slightly embarrassing? Absolutely, but I've had the privilege of being present on two such occasions this year, and I was proud both times to be part of such a supportive fan base.
Least Disruptive: George Kottaras
Georgie is the perfect back up catcher: he can catch Wake, is passably good looking, and doesn't make waves in the clubhouse. Think about it. You never see or hear about Kottaras on days he isn't catching, and even when he is, he is so dependable - yet not outstanding - that you think about him only when he does something unexpected, like hit a home run. His passed balls are minimal, and he seems to do well with Wakefield. Plus, Theo can pay him league-minimum. A match made in heaven, I'd say.
Best Looking: Jacoby Ellsbury
Duh. And it's precisely why I won't get a #46 shirt. Last time I was at Fenway, I sat in front of the type of fans I LOATHE. Two girls who knew next to nothing about baseball ("What happens if there's a tie at the end?"), who insisted they should have "pregamed" harder before the game, and who were, inevitably, wearing Ellsbury jerseys. Ellsbury was not even in the lineup, and hadn't been for two days. They fretted about him for a good three innings, before becoming too drunk to care. Jacoby is a good young player, but girls like that make me want to permanently disfigure him so they'll stop coming to games.
Least Likely to Show Emotion: JD Drew
JD has to be the most even-keeled human being EVER. Strikeout? Grand slam in the playoffs? Same blank expression. I referred to him as "No Feelings Drew" on Twitter the other night, and someone replied to me and told me that she had gone to college with JD, and that he was a really nice guy. I'm sure he is, but even if he hated you, you'd never know it, because his facial expression never changes. Ever. If he didn't injure himself so often, I'd swear he was an android.
Most Fragile: Rocco Baldelli
Not his fault, but Rocco isn't exactly Cal Ripken, Jr. Rocco cannot play more than two days in a row, and manages to have sore/strained muscles more often than not. However, if he can make catches like he did during the third game of the last Yankees' series every time he plays, he can have all the off time he wants.
Favorite Exchange Student: Jason Bay
Jason Bay came over at the trade deadline last year, and it's been a honeymoon ever since. Bay is everything you could want in a left fielder, except for possibly the extreme paleness of his skin. I think he might blind the opposing pitchers with his whiteness. Runner up superlative for Bay? Most SPF Needy.
Most Versatile: Mark Kotsay
Beyond playing all three outfield position and wielding a more than adequate lefthanded bat, he can hold down first base, as we saw last year during the playoffs. He also is a great clubhouse guy, according to the Skipper, and could rival JD Drew for best monotone during interviews. Our male readers know that he has a good looking wife. All in all, Kotsay does well for himself, on and off the field. Runner up superlative: Best looking family.
Tomorrow: the pitching staff.