There’s a clever commercial for “MLB ’09: The Show,” in which cover boy and reigning AL MVP winner Dustin Pedroia complains to the designers of the game that they put a hole in his swing.
When they remark that it was intentional, and that they’re going to keep it for the sake of realism, the camera cuts back to Pedroia, who is polishing his MVP trophy. “How many MVPs do you know who can’t hit that pitch?”
“Aside from you?” the game designer asks, and then thinks hard in silence.
It’s a great little commercial. Upon first viewing, it seems Pedroia is willing to poke a little bit of fun at himself, which is always a good thing.
Then again, we don’t know Dustin Pedroia all that well. The little big man has always appeared to be a little smug; perhaps it was a byproduct of his diminutive stature, we reasoned. Or maybe something really was there. Maybe the persona of the spoiled athlete that he used to make the commercial so funny wasn’t so far from the truth, after all.
An interview Pedroia did with Boston Magazine recently quoted him as calling his hometown of Woodland, California – where his parents own a tire store – a “dump.”
The dump’s native son admitted he was angry with the town for an unspecified reason. His brother, Brett, has pleaded not guilty on child molestation charges in Woodland for inappropriate behavior with a boy under the age of 14.
I have no problem with players venting, or even with disliking their hometown. I’m not that crazy about my own, and if I achieved some amount of celebrity, I wouldn’t hide that fact. What concerned me was this line:
“I come from your town. You should embrace me. I play for the Boston
Red Sox. You haven’t had a lot of major leaguers come out of your
Yeesh. Really, Dustin Pedroia? Because you happened to get a job in Major League Baseball, you deserve deference from the city of Woodland, California? They should embrace you because you’re able to get on-base at a nearly 40% clip?
Pedroia finds himself slowly sliding into Spoiled Athlete territory, along with his teammate Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon made some comments in an interview with Esquire Magazine about former teammate Manny Ramirez. Like a jilted lover, he continues to talk about Manny. To wonder if Manny’s talking about him. If they’re looking at the same moon. Is Manny wearing a new cologne? Do you ever see him out? Does he ever talk about me?
The interview, in Papelbon insensitively called Ramirez a “cancer” and compared a baseball season to a war a la Kellen Winslow, by saying that, “if you’re not in that
same cubbyhole with the rest of the guys going to war with you, you’re
all going to die. That almost happened.”
Now, re-read that last quote in the light of the Nick Adenhart story, and tell me why it’s an awful thing for Papelbon to say.
Given the chance to soften his stance in March, three months after his interview (which had come on the heels of the frustrating season and loss in the ALCS), Papelbon refused. When asked if he’d heard anything from his teammates, he said no… “they all know that’s the truth,” he said.
Terry Francona, his manager, simply shrugged and said, “That’s his personality.”
Yep, spoiled malcontent. That’s his personality. Whatcha gonna do?
If that was the worst of it, then I wouldn’t be so angry. But this morning, I woke up to another Papelbon interview – is this guy trying to make up for the loss of Curt Schilling?
In the debut of his weekly web-only interview segment on Comcast SportsNet, Papelbon complained about being asked to walk through the Fenway Park stands in a symbolic gesture to thank the fans for their loyalty and support.
Not Cinco Ocho’s style. “I know the fans probably loved it,” he said, but “you do have to be
safe, especially walking down the steps and stuff like that.”
I thought he was a war-fighting soldier? Now he’s afraid of steps? Seriously? Especially walking down the steps? The steps?
He then ended with “Just a terrible idea by [Red Sox senior vice president] Sarah McKenna,
that was the person who came up with this idea, very stupid of her,”
Papelbon said. “And if she pulls another act like that, she can go down
I’m sorry, but I cannot read that last quote without seeing red. What a completely self-important thing to say. That’s your boss, skippy. She’s also your teammate, by the way. You wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re not supporting a teammate, now, would you?
Oh, right. Never mind, that’s just your personality. Cue Francona.