My world’s on fire how about yours

Dustin Pedroia. Still an All-Star! Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ and used with permission.

The Red Sox are making me so happy these last few days that I’m relaxed and sleepy and I keep falling asleep before I write anything. My hope is to get through this post without falling asleep!

Congrats all around! To Aaron Bates for his first ML hit on Saturday and then for tearing it up on Sunday. To Jon Lester for kicking butt once again. To Daniel Bard for establishing himself in that bullpen. To Josh Beckett for pitching a complete game using under 100 pitches, only giving up three hits and shutting out the Royals for his 100th career win. And to the Red Sox for taking three out of four games thus winning the series and going into the All-Star break with a three-game lead in the division. All of these things make it a little easier to go into the break.

I enjoy the Home Run Derby (for the most part) so I’ll have baseball Monday. And given how many of our guys are playing, I’ll definitely be watching the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Then Wednesday brings the Triple-A ASG and Thursday is a day off for the Sox (and, incidentally, the Yankees). So there is plenty of baseball to be had if you’re looking for it. (You just have to put up with the likes of the Fox and ESPN commentators.)

The other day I pointed you all in the direction of an article written by Dan Shaughnessy that spelled out how differently players are treated now than back in the day. It discussed Dustin Pedroia not being at Fenway for a game because his wife was ill and the team being fine with it. To me, it demonstrates how much MLB has changed with the times. There’s still a lot they need to do but I see this as a good start. So I give you my two favorite quotes this week that have to do with the players and their putting their families first.

Kevin Youkilis on refusing the invite to be in the Home Run Derby:

“I think you miss out a lot of stuff with your family. It’s not like I don’t want to ruin my swing or anything. I just want to spend time with my son.”

There was a time when players had to practically pretend they didn’t have families. That time is gone. At least in Boston. Just ask Dustin Pedroia, who has made the decision to stay home and not go to St. Louis:

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the game of baseball and for the All-Star Game and am incredibly honored that the fans voted me this year’s starting second baseman for the American League. I am disappointed that I will not be able to enjoy the amazing experience with the other All-Stars, especially with my Red Sox teammates, but it is important that I put my family first at this time.”

I’m a sucker for this stuff, I really am. I know you can argue for eternity about the value of having character guys on your team and I’ll always be on the side that votes “yes”. Yes, I’d rather have guys on my team I don’t feel dirty rooting for than have a team full of oh let’s just say Alex Rodriguezes. I know it isn’t a popular position to take and more folks like to say they root for the laundry not the player (or the name on the front not the back) but I root for both. And it might sound corny but I’m proud of the team I root for. They might not all be perfect, hell we know they’re not, but a good many of them seem to “get” it.

So we won’t see Pedie in St. Louis since he’ll be by his wife’s side instead. While I’m bummed he won’t get to play in the ASG, I’m also impressed at his having made this decision. We still have Bay, Beckett, Papelbon, Youkilis and Wakefield to root for!

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