Today’s formal announcement of the signing of J.D. Drew has me thinking about one of last year’s new Sox. You don’t have to go far to find folks questioning Drew’s health and his character without ever having seen him play for their team. I hope, very much, that he gets a fair shake when he gets here.
Last year there were doubts before the year started about Mike Lowell, who came almost as baggage in the Beckett deal and who was thought by many to be in serious decline after a poor 2005 season.
Now, he was no youngster, certainly…
(getting advice from Manny about stretching, apparently… March 14, 2006)
… and perhaps he made the odd sartorial choice…
(bucking fashion trends, March 17, 2006)
(and following them, same day)
… but the phrase "slow bat" persisted long after I, at least, could see that that wasn’t the case.
He didn’t back down from mascots…
(on-deck series in Philly, April 1, 2006)
… and he didn’t back down from the Monster, either, earning a new commonly used phrase, "doubles machine." He combined rather rugged good looks…
… with excellent defense and good hitting early in the season.
He had some fun, too!
And he came to wear the Red Sox uniform with what I think is a joyful pride.
On more than one occasion Mike Lowell spoke about Boston, and how different it was to play in a town where the fans came out with playoff intensity for every game.
Toward the end of the year things got tough for the whole team, of course.
but I think I know how much Mike wants to get back in front of the best fans in baseball.
(September 29, 2006)
And right on cue, J.D. Drew said today, "When you play the game of baseball and you play in front of
passionate people, it becomes contagious. That’s where you get the
home-field advantage. That’s where a player really enjoys playing."
Mr. Drew, meet Mr. Lowell.