DENVER - Sitting in the visitors' dugout at Coors Field, Dustin Pedroia waited for the Rockies to wrap up batting practice before Game 4 of the World Series last night. With the Red Sox in control of the series, Pedroia was asked if he had any thoughts about possibly making the last putout that clinched the World Series.
"Aw, man," Pedroia said, dismissively. "I'm not thinking about that."
Pedroia was preoccupied with putting the finishing touches on this series and his rookie campaign, one in which the 24-year-old second baseman has garnered mention for American League Rookie of the Year after hitting .317 with 8 home runs and 50 RBIs during the regular season.
Certainly, it had to exceed whatever expectations Pedroia had when he arrived at Fort Myers, Fla., for the first day of spring training having pared the baby fat from his physique by dropping from 190 pounds to 170.
"I mean, for me, obviously, I was just trying to make the team and do anything I can to help the team win," he said. "You know, I knew our team goals were obviously win the American League East and win the World Series."
Pedroia is hitting .444 (12 for 27) with 3 doubles, 2 homers, and 9 RBIs in in his last six postseason games.
He homered in his first at-bat in Game 1 of the World Series. He set a rookie postseason record with six doubles and tied Derek Jeter (1996) for the most runs by a rookie in the postseason with 12.
Understandably, it has left Pedroia little time to put his postseason performance into context.
"You know, I really haven't had a chance to think about it a whole lot," he said. "It seems like ever since the first day I got to Fort Myers it's been such a grind, the whole season. You never really kind of get a chance to sit back and enjoy it. You just go out there, play as hard as you can and hopefully you win.
"Being down 3-1 against Cleveland [in the American League Championship Series], I think, everybody kind of came together and said, 'We don't care about anything, we just want to win and do this together.' "
Pedroia dropped to the No. 2 hole for the Sox' 10-5 victory in Game 3, manager Terry Francona penciling in rookie center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury as the leadoff hitter, a move that produced a combined 7-for-10, 4-RBI effort for the first rookies ever to bat 1-2 in the World Series.
"I'm sure there's a lot of people in our player development that are pretty proud right now, as they should be," Francona said. "We're the ones that get to stand up there and talk about the young kids, but the player development people, the ones that spend all the time with them, they've done a great job."
Pedroia credited the Sox organization for not only recognizing the youthful talent - such as Ellsbury, and Jonathan Papelbon, the dancing reliever - but nurturing it.
"Yeah, I think the organization did a great job [with] all of us, preparing us at each level, what to expect," he said. "I think it helps out when you all get called up together because we've been through a lot of things. We played AA together, AAA, and now here. So I think everybody is comfortable with each other, and it makes it that much more special."
Drafted in 2004, the same year the Sox ended an 86-year World Series drought, Pedroia has never suffered the indignity of having his ears filled with chants of "1918! 1918!" from mean-spirited Yankee fans. Since he and the other newcomers have been with the organization, Pedroia, who was the 2003 Pacific 10 Co-Player of the Year at Arizona State, has known success, mostly.
"Yeah, I got drafted the year they won the World Series, so I know that was a special time for them," Pedroia said. "Once I got up here last August, you know, that's been my mind-set. I want to win a World Series like they did. You know, this whole ride we've been on all year has been extremely fun. It's been crazy."