Boston - Three swings, three extra-base hits and five RBIs. A day after their longest game in six years, the Red Sox needed some energy and the 23-year-old Middlebrooks provided it in an 11-5 victory against the Royals...He swung the bat great,’’ Pedroia said. “Those are professional at-bats and at that age, it’s huge for our team. Very impressive.’’ Middlebrooks has at least one extra-base hit in four straight games to start his career, one of four players to accomplish that since 1918. Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes did it earlier this season. Enos Slaughter (1938) and Coco Laboy (1969) are the others. Middlebrooks is 8 for 21 (.381) with three doubles, three home runs, and nine RBIs since being called up last Wednesday when Kevin Youkilis went on the disabled list.
I'll say this, I'd give anything to be a 10-12 year old Sox fan right now. Sure the team is just so-so, is coming off a disaster of a year, and the leadership is a mess. Doesn't matter.
They've got Will Middlebrooks, and it's beginning to feel a lot like 1996-97 all over again.
That might seem ridiculous, and it's really early, maybe I'll look back in a week, a month, a year, and realize what a jackass I made out of myself, comparing Middlebrooks, a kid with one week of big league activity, to Nomar, one of the most beloved Sox of all time. Or maybe I'm just grasping at straws, aside from the day to day drama and wondering if this team will ever get above .500 there's been very little in the compelling storylines department this season. But I don't think that's it.
I see a young, homegrown kid, hitting lasers all over the place. I see a manager with a very uncomfortable decision forthcoming if he keeps it up, and I see myself as a 12 year old, absolutely enthralled with this new all-star in the making, begging my parents to get me his jersey.
The home grown star, the MVP candidate you've followed since his big league debut, they don't come around often. It's different than a guy you traded for or signed one off-season, no matter how great they may be...they don't really belong to you. They belong to the fan base they just left behind. You take them in as your own, but you weren't there since the beginning...No matter how many great things you witness them do, there's always that missing chapter. You didn't see them realize and learn to harness their potential. It's a ready made product.
That was part of what was so special about Nomar. He was ours. We watched him come up, suddenly there was this slick fielding shortstop hitting everything in sight, and no one else had a claim on him. He was truly Boston's. Kids learned his pre-batters box routine, his stance, and his sidearm throws from short and mimicked them at little league.