Last night Dustin Pedroia stepped up to the plate five times with a broken finger.
That he picked up two hits, including a double that served to score the first run of the game and ultimately resulted in their second as well has masked the fact that this was probably a very bad idea.
Don't get me wrong, I love Dustin Pedroia's enthusiasm. I love that he wants to play every game. I maybe wish we didn't have the subplot of J.J. Hardy convincing him to play via the almighty text, but whatever the motivation and no matter how much the decision might seem foolish, it's an incredibly endearing one in the eyes of a fan.
But that's because I don't ask for smart decisions off the field from Dustin Pedroia. At least not beyond the smart decisions that will keep him ready to play and , ideally, easy to like (stay fit, don't do things that will lead to prison time). What we ask of Dustin Pedroia is first and foremost productivity, but this sort of fire and passion to play is certainly the sort of thing you want to see out of any player on the team.
And that's why we have all the guys who don't play: so that when Dustin Pedroia comes into the locker room assuming he's going to play in a meaningless game he can be quietly talked down and convinced he needs to simply call it a year. After all, why risk making something worse? Why risk turning a minor thing into a potentially serious issue?
Shockingly, this is not the part where Bobby Valentine gets called out, because it's hard to really expect anything out of him at this point. He's as lame duck a manager as ever there's been. We know he's gone, he knows he's gone, and if Dustin Pedroia--a player who reportedly was not uninvolved in undermining him in the clubhouse--wants to play with a broken finger, why not spare yourself the grief of an argument.
No, this call has to come from somewhere up above. Ben Cherington should've been the one to shut this down the second he saw the lineup, or one of the owners if they were watching leading into the game. Dustin Pedroia is their investment, and if the buck stops anywhere, it stops with them.
We're a good few hours away from lineups, but something tells me that Pedroia isn't about to find his way to the bench for tonight's game either. And most likely there will be no negative consequences--this will go down as an unremarkable Game 162 like the hundreds of others that have been played by teams out of playoff contention. But still, it's an unnecessary risk, and one that makes you wonder about the chain of command.