So I definitely wasn't surprised when Pedey came through with a walk-off hit into right field. I was, however, blown away when I heard it was his first career walk-off.
Pedroia's been coming through for the BoSox since he snapped out of an early-season 2007 slump... He hit a homerun in his first ever World Series at-bat, homeruns on Opening Days 2009 and 2010, was the 2007 Rookie of the Year, and the 2008 MVP of the American League. All these accolades, and never a walk-off hit?!
You all know my feelings about the Sox second-baseman, and it goes beyond the sparkling statistics. During the championship run of 2007, ROY Pedroia played for over two months with a painful cracked hamate bone in his left wrist, quipping, "You just try and have the adrenaline take over, and take a lot of Tylenol."
Also, unlike certain other Boston sports icons (ahem, Tom Brady), Dustin can support the local teams.
Yes, Pedroia is a true dirt dog, in the tradition of one Trot Nixon before him; he puts his body on the line every game, and every play, all for the good of the team. For the last month or so, Pedey has been battling a bad knee, which had been quite detrimental to his hitting (I use the past tense because he's been on fire this homestand, to the tune of 15-for-31).
Despite the pain in his knee, a joint we can all agree is of tantamount importance to a baseball player, Pedroia knew that it was better for the team that he play, even if it was only at 75%. You HAVE to admire that "team first" attitude, and the grit and will to win don't hurt, either.
Of course, I love the witty remarks he comes out with, and I only wish we got to hear them all - you just know that the few that trickle down to the fans are the tamest of them. As for the cockiness? On a man of normal size, it might be annoying, but on Pedroia, a 5'8" (in his spikes, maybe) balding twenty-six year old, it's somewhat endearing.
What can I say? I've been head over heels for Pedey since he came up in late 2006 - wearing number 64 - and I won't hide my unabashed admiration for him. Hopefully, there will be no more need for a walk-off hit from Speedy Pedey in the bottom of the ninth... but if we need one, there's no one I'd trust more.