If there's one thing Red Sox fans love, it's a good dirt dog. It's a love that dates back long before the term was first coined in the days of Trot NIxon. If a player is willing to throw themselves all over the place in the name of a win, then they'll do just fine in Boston.
But time passes, and the dirt dogs of yesterday move on. Often more quickly than others given the way they play the game. For nearly a decade, though, the Red Sox have always had at least one man around to carry the torch. I speak, of course, of Dustin Pedroia.
Every player is gonna end up with a dirty uniform from time to time. Some more than others. But none as consistently as Dustin Pedroia. Whether he's throwing himself at a base or a ground ball, he finds his way into the dirt just about every game without fail.
That's actually not always a good thing. We've seen him wind up hurt for a negative value play like diving into first back in 2013. Injury is just a matter of life when you play the game all-out like Pedroia does. It's why he's on the disabled list right now instead of playing out the string at second. But some of those injuries can and should be avoided when they don't come with any upside.
Sometimes, Pedey, it's better to stay on your feet.
Still, if running his thumb into the bag at first is the sort of thing Red Sox fans hate to see Pedroia do, at the same time it's all part of why we love him. There might be some perfect-world Pedroia who strikes the perfect balance between the smart play and the effort play. He might play more games every year and be hitting the ball better today than our real-world Pedroia, whose bat has likely been worn down a bit by all the bumps and bruises.
But that wouldn't be Dustin Pedroia. The dirt dog or, indeed, "Muddy Chicken" that's made such a mark on this Red Sox team this past decade. And if you get all that good with the very little bad, Red Sox fans will take it every time. You do you, Pedey, for as long as you can.
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