When David Ortiz announced his retirement last year, people automatically wondered how he would be replaced. Not only would they need to replace his bat in the line-up, but they would need to replace his presence in the locker room. Of course, everyone knew the answers is that you can’t replace him in either place. He was that important.
But, they could try and come close. Maybe if you add Mitch Moreland, and Andrew Benintendi, and Pablo Sandoval to the line-up, they can outperform the three players they were replacing by enough to make up for Ortiz. That’s not a bad assumption, and even with Panda’s struggles it seems like it might work.
As for the clubhouse presence? The Sox were going to have to just lean on Dustin Pedroia a little more. But, he’s such a natural leader, and already a huge clubhouse presence, that it shouldn’t be a problem at all.
All he’s done so far is publicly side with an opposing player as he threw his own teammate and manager under the bus, and then ask reporters if he can just go home instead of talking to them.
He asked if he could go home.
I’m trying to decide if there’s another player on any team that could get away with saying that. Imagine a Ramirez or Drew saying that. Either one, take your pick.
It seems to me that Pedroia is missing the Ortiz shadow. In previous years, Ortiz would answer the tough questions. If the reporters needed an answer about a team issue, they went to Ortiz. He would be the spokesman. Then, to fill more space in their column they’d go to Pedroia. He’d give them some humble brag about laser shows that they could throw in the article, and everyone is happy.
That’s not the case anymore.
Now Pedroia’s the spokesman. Or, he’s supposed to be. He’s certainly not taking to the role very well. Remember his response to the Machado incident? Pretty much, “It’s over. Too bad you guys have nothing else to write about.” About the comments from Britton about Pedroia’s leadership? Basically said, “If he played with me he wouldn’t say that.” (Had to turn the focus right onto how awesome he his.). And, most recently? He asked to simply go home instead of answering questions.
Quite the team leader.
Makes me wonder how he got the “clubhouse leader” thing anyway. Has he actually done anything to deserve it? He told Bobby Valentine that his response to an incident wasn’t the way we do things here. Undermining a new manager? Really? The year before, he responded to “chicken and beer” questions by saying “you know me, I don’t leave the dugout during games.” Turning a serious clubhouse incident (to some people) into a chance to brag about himself. As always, make it about Dustin.
Has this whole “leader” persona been invented by reporters? Reporters who love his quotes? Who love the extra inches he hands over to them? Are they pulling the same stunt they pulled with Derek Jeter? Pump up the intangibles, because you can’t really disprove them. Just call them a leader, because it’s hard to prove they’re not. Except in this case. It seems to be that instead of leading, Pedroia’s spent his career being the comic relief.
That’s not the same thing as a leader.