Fortunately for the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia falls under the second category.
The second baseman is routinely the first player at the ballpark on game days, so it makes sense that even with his broken foot, he simply has nowhere else to go every day. That is most certainly a positive for the Red Sox, because even if he can’t help them on the field, his attitude and spirit is unquestionably a positive force in the clubhouse.
In his book, Born to Play: My Life in the Game, which was co-authored by Edward J. Delaney, Pedroia makes it very clear that there’s no place he’d rather be than at the ballpark. He also offers up a few classic one-liners, many of which find their way onto the following list of Pedroia’s top 10 quotes.
When a bomb threat forced a bomb squad to inspect Fenway Park before a game in the 2010 season, Pedroia flexed his muscles and assured everyone that the situation was under control.
“Bomb squad? Bomb squad? They’re early!”
Throughout his early life, whether in high school or college, the short and physically unimpressive Pedroia was often overlooked by scouts. It might have cost him a few opportunities, but Pedroia explains in his book that he never wished he was 6-foot-3.
“People always ask me if I wish I were bigger. I tell them no. I always wanted to be a miniature badass.”
As he explains in his book, Pedroia was busy helping the Red Sox complete a miraculous comeback in Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS while his wife, Kelli, was busy making travel arrangements for the offseason. That night, many fans left their seats at Fenway Park, believing hope was lost, so it’s not like she was alone in thinking things looked grim. Still, Pedroia made it known that you can’t count him out — no matter who you are.
“I don’t want to throw my wife under the bus for doing that, but I’ll kind of gently roll her under the bus.”
When you’re Dustin Pedroia, you’ll mess with anyone — even if he’s a living Red Sox legend.
“[Johnny Pesky] goes, ‘Ted Williams was the greatest hitter of all time.’ He says that over, and over and over. Now it’s to a point where I’ll say, ‘Johnny, I have to ask you a question: Who the hell is Ted Williams?’
“I just like messing with him.”
Pedroia worked hard to get in shape for the 2007 season, and it paid off when he won AL Rookie of the Year and helped the Red Sox win the World Series. Even with all that training at Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona, however, he managed to get in two of his favorite pastimes: Ping-Pong and smack talk.
“[Brady Quinn] came walking by while I was playing Ping-Pong, and I was kicking somebody’s a–. … I said, ‘Hey, buddy, you don’t know s— yet. Walk on and keep your mouth shut, or pick up the paddle.’ He was probably thinking, ‘Who the hell is this midget who’s talking s— at me?’”
When Pedroia signed a six-year deal worth about $6.75 million per season, it didn’t take a genius to know that he definitely could have made more money if he wanted to. Yet he made it clear at the time that the only thing he wants to worry about is baseball, not money.
“What can’t I do with $40 million that I could do with $100 million? At some point, you have to stop and say, ‘Listen, I’m a regular human being.’ Do I need a Bentley? Absolutely not. I don’t care about those kinds of things. But does this set my family and my kids up forever? Absolutely.”
Not surprisingly, Pedroia was a competitive kid in gym class. In the book, he shares a story of a game of bombardment that took a turn for the worse.
“There were usually the shy girls in the back of the gym, and I remember I let one throw go pretty good one time, and it sailed on me, and I smoked this girl. I mean, when that ball hit her, she went down hard. She was a friend of mine and I was like, ‘Oh, s—, I just hammered this girl in the head.’ … [She turned out to be OK]. Then I just continued to kick a–.”
Sure, he may have gently rolled his wife under the bus, but when it came time to propose to her, he pulled out all the stops. He wasn’t afraid to brag about it.
“It was fun, and I think she was also excited to see the romantic side of Dustin Pedroia. Seriously, I’m a real pimp.”
Heading into the 2010 season, thanks in large part to Theo Epstein, the focus of the Red Sox was thought to be “run prevention.” With a revamped pitching staff and a strong collection of defensive players, the Red Sox were supposed to win their games 3-2 all year long.
“We run-prevented the [heck] out of them.”
As is evidenced in his book, Pedroia routinely throws around the “laser show” phrase to describe his exploits in a batter’s box. But for the most part, people who didn’t encounter Pedroia didn’t know.
Until May 4, 2010.
That night, after David Ortiz had another rough night in the early part of the season, Pedroia sprung to his teammate’s defense. In the process, he created a catchphrase that’s taken Boston by storm.
“It happens to everybody, man. He’s had 60 at-bats. A couple of years ago, I had 60 at-bats, and I was hitting .170, and everyone was ready to kill me, too. And what happened? Laser show. So, relax.”