Dustin Pedroia's stat lines this season have no doubt caught the eyes of fantasy baseball geeks, but his road to approach teammates like Big Papi in superstar status has been a bit tougher. Of course, everything's tougher when you're only five foot nothing. A profile in today's Boston Globe tells tales of diminutive Dustin's cocksure attitude, the obstacles he overcame, and the importance of animal cruelty to early career progression. But it was his dismantling of Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn on the ping pong table that was eye catching:
Pedroia's ping-pong victims include Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, whom Pedroia baited into a match last year at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona. Never mind that Quinn, a rugged 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, towered over him.
"You want a piece of me, meat?" Pedroia said.
Ethier, who witnessed the scene, said, "Dustin was talking smack to him the whole time, talking about how he would sack Brady and put him on his back. Dustin absolutely destroyed him, and Brady couldn't stand losing to someone who is 5-foot-something. It was pretty incredible."
Perhaps Pedroia had seen Quinn's photo shoot in Interview magazine. Like most sports proteges today, Pedroia started on his path to greatness early. While most 18-month-olds are still shitting their pants, Pedroia was swinging a bat and learning how to pick up a slider. His power at 18 months was apparently pretty good as he sent the family pet, a baby goose, to the bullpen in the sky with one swing. Oh yeah. And Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs broke Pedroia's ankle in high school. No big deal. Heading into today's double header with the Yankees at Fenway, Pedroia sits only five points behind league leader Joe Mauer's .330 batting average. With a huge Sunday, Dustin could become the first AL player since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1983 to lead the league in batting average, runs scored, and doubles. While I'm sure Red Sox Nation has already replaced their Tom Brady shrines with Pedroia's likeness, I don't think I could pick last year's ROY out of a line up. That should all change in the next week as the playoffs get underway and we're inundated with Red Sox drivel. I can't wait. >>Most valuable half-pint [Boston Globe]