And not cuz he’s Jewish. Cuz he’s not.
Having gotten that out of the way, let’s cut to the chase.
To no one’s great surprise, though to some people’s consternation, Pedroia has been named our AL MVP. Though, unlike other players who have been awarded the MVP this year (whose names I won’t mention out of respect and because they have funny names that sound like unfortunate body parts that people more juvenile than me might be inclined to make fun of), Pedroia didn’t say that he wasn’t surprised. In fact, one might say that he has handled the whole thing with, I don’t know, class and dignity. Which is whatever. Except, well, the dude’s a Chowda. And it makes the universe make more sense to me when the Chowdas are saying things like, “Manny being Manny, man,” and acting like disgruntled bad sports when people are beating home run derby records, and beating people up in dark alleys. (Watch Dateline long enough, Mike Lowell will eventually show up.)
But, instead, Dustin Pedroia responded to his victory by saying, “I really didn’t know what to expect. I was excited just having my name with all those players… For me, just to be in that category is an extreme honor.” So what gives, Pedroia? You reading my blog and think that just because you play cute and humble, you can avoid my wrath? Sorry, buddy, but you’re livin’ la vida chowda, and I’m afraid it’s not quite that simple. I’ve known you for—how long is it now?—a couple years. So one gracious moment does not an absolution make. I’ve seen into the depths of your soul. I know it to be red—and not in the Communist way.
It’s weird, eerie almost, that so many players should come out of one franchise being so strangely, well, the same. Cocky, rude, unsportsmanlike, unfamiliar with the virtues of showering. Yet, they keep churning them out. And Pedroia is no exception.
The thing Pedroia is most famous for other than knowing his way around the bat is that he likes to tell people all about how well he knows his way around the bat. Like, by saying embarrassing things before batting practice such as, “Get ready for the laser show.” If you think it’s too stupid to believe, this information can be easily verified by using one of the most reliable information sources in existence—urban dictionary. That’s right; Pedroia’s been urban dictionized. Look it up. Laser show: A fearsome and awe-inspiring display of line-drive hitting prowess, as made popular by Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Incidentally, while I was on urban dictionary, I decided to go ahead and look up ass clown just to see if it was truly a credible insult. Lo and behold, I discovered that an ass clown is one, who, through the fault of his parents’ conception, is a skid mark in society's collective underwear. So, my apologies for having mocked its merit. Be assured that when I use it in the future, it will always be in earnest. Like, when I say that Dustin Pedroia is an ass clown.
See, it’s not just the laser show thing, though that’s evidence enough of his ass clownery. There have been other offenses—the time Pedroia so tastelessly said that Jerry Remy stunk, the slap attack, the mouthing off to the press, and the fact that, whatever he’s saying or doing, it ultimately always seems like some variation or other of “Get ready for the laser show.”
Don’t get me wrong; I can almost sort of sympathize with Pedroia. There are people in the world for whom things seems to come easy. They are naturally endowed with talent, blessed with good luck, things just seems to go their way. Sports is no exception. There are players like Tim Lincecum who can eat crap before games and not ice their arms. Players like Derek Jeter who have the ability to make baseball look like ballet. Then there are the players whose success is largely dictated by their willingness to work at it, to overcome the odds that would suggest that, by all rights, they shouldn’t make it. My grandfather, who filled the alley by his house with sawdust so that he could practice his slide and used to pay kids to shag balls for him at the stadium on off days, was one of them. So is Pedroia. He has had to battle his whole life because of his size, fight other people’s expectations that he would fail, constantly work harder to compete with guys who were bigger. I respect that that takes grit.
But guess what, dude? You did it. You’re a major league baseball player. You have a World Series ring. You were Rookie of the Year last year. You’re this year’s AL MVP. (And Gold Glove AND Silver Slugger winner, by the way.) You’re Rocky post-victory with Apollo Creed, pre-plastic surgery old and pathetic era. So, by talking about lasers all the time, you’re not telling people to watch out because one day you’re going to make it. You’re just telling people to suck it.
Who knows? Maybe this whole MVP/Gold Glove/Silver Slugger thing constitutes a turning point for Pedroia. But I sort of doubt it. He’s so focused on how hard he’s had to work, so hung up on how hung up others are on his size, I don’t see him letting go of it. Despite his recent successes, he still feels compelled to say things like, “I'm not the biggest guy in the world. I don't have that many tools. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't think I'm a baseball player. I think that's the biggest thing that drives me to be a good player. I've had to deal with that my whole life. I think that's just been instilled in my mind—that I have to overcome everything to prove people wrong. So far I've done that."
And that’s his bottom line: He needs to feel like he’s battling the world to find the necessary motivation to be good. Then, after he wins the battle, he needs to tell the world to shove it up its pujols.
That said, I do believe that it is truly an egregious offense to make fun of someone for his size. (And when it comes to Pedroia-hating, this is usually where people take aim. Stupid, right? Given how many other better things there are to hate on him about.) That shit's just mean. This may seem hypocritical because I like making fun of people for their names, especially when the people are jerks and their names rhyme with crapelbon—but the two seem somehow in different categories to me. A name is just a word—an arbitrary signifier so the world knows how to address a person. Physical attributes are the actual whole material portion of a person’s being. People are sensitive about it. And, for the most part, unless you want to have painful, expensive surgery, your physical features are unalterable. So I leave those alone. I do, however, make an exception for bad hair or facial hair, which I believe to be a reflection of taste and judgment.
Speaking of people whose names I like to make fun of: Holy Covelli. Coco Crisp is a Royal. No, not a royal pain in the pujols. Just a Royal. Like, from Kansas City. I wouldn’t have thought that any trade news from Chowdaville had the potential to break my heart—but, man, was I ever wrong. First Fav-ruh, now Crisp. It’s like all the fancy evil sports lords are having private meetings to discuss what moves to make to give me the most agita. Obviously, despite the trade, I can still tell Coco he sucks because suck is where the heart is. Whatever the hell that means. But now I’m going to have to accidentally make enemies with people from Kansas City, and I actually like those people and want them to like me. But I get it. No one needs two center fielders. And I guess you kind of brought this on yourself Coco Crisp.
Because you suck, Coco Crisp.
You know what? Still feels good.