Top Moments '10: No. 3 -- Lowell's 'Welcome Back' Blast OTM

OTM Coverage from Mr. Ben "USG" Buchanan

Box Score from Baseball-Reference.com

Box Score from Baseball-Reference.com

If I were to make an understatement, it would be that 2010 did not go exactly as Mike Lowell would have liked.

After healing from hip surgery that robbed the former World Series MVP of much of his mobility, Mike Lowell had hoped that in 2010, he would be able to finish out his contract at third base, the position he'd occupied his whole career.  It became clear that the Red Sox front office didn't feel he was capable of adequately manning the hot corner when they signed free agent Adrian Beltre to be the starter.  From that point on, Lowell was bounced around in trade rumors, but instead spent the majority of a disappointing 2010 season relegated to either backup first baseman or the disabled list.  Fans who appreciated what he had done for the Red Sox clearly pitied him, as was made clear by the enormous ovation he got on opening day. 

In the midst of this bright spot though, on August 3, however, he did manage to have what must have ranked up with the World Series wins as one of the most rewarding moments of his career.

Lowell, who hadn't played since the middle of June (and who it looked like might have already played his last game in the majors) was called up off the disabled list suddenly when Kevin Youkilis suffered a season-ending injury.  Finally, Lowell had a place on the team, now as the first baseman, and he certainly had plenty to prove to Red Sox Nation.

I've always appreciated Lowell- he seems like a genuinely good guy and has contributed a lot to the Red Sox- but he's never been one of my favorite players.  Nonetheless, his at bat in the second inning is one of those moments in Fenway that neither I nor anyone else who was there that night will forget.  

Lowell's name was announced, and as he stepped towards the plate, the entirety of Fenway Park rose and gave him the type of ovation reserved for World Series heroes returning home.  As the applause finally started to die away, Mikey stood up to the plate and Cleveland's David Huff delivered his pitch, a 90 MPH fastball right out over the plate.  I think that before the pitch reached the plate, everyone in Fenway could tell that something special was about to happen, and the whole park held its collective breath for what felt like minutes as Lowell's bat sent the ball flying over the left field wall.  From a hundred feet away, you could see the sense of satisfaction on Lowell's face as he trotted around the bases.  The two runs scored on that pitch were all the Red Sox needed to defeat Cleveland, and it was a truly great moment to see.

I said to a friend I was at the game with that they should have let him retire on that swing, and unfortunately, through the rest of the season, that appeared to be true, as he couldn't recapture any of his former success at the plate.  Still, it was good to see the redemption in that swing, and this was definitely one of the most memorable at bats I've ever seen.

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