To be properly called a “gamer,” a ballplayer must be possessed of several crucial characteristics, most vitally the twelve listed below. It is the contention of this post that Dustin Pedroia fits all these essential criteria, and is, potentially, baseball’s newest Ultimate Gamer:
1) Dirty uniform. I don’t think I have ever seen Pedroia’s uniform clean. It attracts dirt like it’s a giant dirt magnet. Gamer? You betcha.
2) Small stature. If you are over 5’10″ tall, you are too big to be a gamer. Pedroia is listed at 5’9″, but those of us with the power of sight know better. Total gamer.
3) Inability to regularly hit for power. No gamer would ever hit 20 homers in a season. However, gamers do hit homers in key postseason games:
4) Can-do spirit. With Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek out with the flu, the Red Sox have played their last three games with only Kevin Cash available to catch. But Dustin Pedroia has volunteered to be the emergency catcher, should something happen to Cash. What a freakin’ gamer.
5) Hustle. Pedroia slid head-first into first base tonight, beating out the throw. Gamer alert! Next batter? David Ortiz, tattooing one into the right field seats to tie the game.
6) Helmet-banging/bat-tossing. Essence of any self-respecting gamer.
8) Permanent five o’clock shadow. Gamers don’t have time to shave every day. They’re too busy rocking out, hustling, and rubbing dirt all over their uniforms. Plus, they have so much testosterone, that the stubble regenerates fifteen minutes after they’ve shaved anyway.
9) Self-sacrifice. One of Peter Gammons’ favorite stories: in college, Dustin Pedroia gave up his scholarship so that his team, the ASU Sun Devils, could go out and recruit some pitchers. After Pedroia had already gone pro, those new pitchers and Pedroia’s old teammates made it to the college world series and all wore his initials on their hats. Gimme a G-A-M-E-R!
10) Playing in pain, but not sucking. Pedroia played through the last two months of the 2007 season with a cracked hamate bone. He OPSed .832 during the playoffs. Gutty.
11) Leadership/spark-pluggishness. Last year, Dustin was a wee rookie and thus acted as the team’s ‘spark plug’ in dark moments. Now that he’s entering his second year in the majors, he’s becoming more of a ‘clubhouse leader.’ But he’s still wee. Because he’s a gamer.
12) Terrible local television commercials. This is the essence of a gamer, right here. How much intestinal fortitude do you think it took to grit this out?
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/PAUU-bC4yOg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
And of course, to be called a gamer, a player has to be white. As you can see, Pedroia is gamerishly pasty.
David Eckstein, watch your back! There’s a new King Gamer in town!