It’s a crush, officially a crush. I turned on ESPN today to catch a bit of the Red Sox/Yanks game, and there he was: #46 Jacoby Ellsbury. I sat down to watch replays over and over as he stole home against left-hander Andy Pettitte. I can’t wait to see it again…
After two weeks of solid trading, I finally did it. I have Jacoby on my fantasy goalkeeping team. I gave up Aaron Harang, future ace Rick Porcello and the Mets’ top prospect, Fernando Martinez. He is mine, all mine. I will follow his every move, I will count every stolen base, every hit, every swing. Where should I put my #46 tattoo? I’m thinking right over my heart…
I am so proud of my Ellsy-poo. A 22-game hitting streak. My hero! The streak ended tonight, but he’s done some great things for the Red Sox. And things so good for me…
This infatuation has lasted all summer and with Boston’s 2-game wild card lead, I look forward to a few more weeks with Ells in October. Very few things blow me up in Boys II Men’s song: Jim from The officeGiada De Laurentiis, Joe Gibbs and now, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury broke into the Sox Nation as a September call-up in 2007, hitting .353 in the regular season. Ellsbury helped lead the Red Sox through the postseason en route to a World Series title, but only after manager Terry Francona pulled Coco Crisp out of center field midway through the American League Championship Series. . In 25 postseason at-bats, Ellsbury hit .360 with 4 stolen bases and 4 RBIs, while catalyzing Boston to 6 straight wins and a world championship. An instant phenomenon in the city of Boston.
In 2008, Ellsbury continued to show his promise and, above all, his speed. The rookie spent most of the season at the top of the Red Sox lineup racking up a .336 OBP and 50 steals. He finished the season with a .280 average, 98 runs scored and 38 extra-base hits. That was good enough for him to finish third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Tampa’s Evan Longoria and Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez.
His progression has reached new heights this year, as Ellsbury has really come into his own in 2009. In 132 games so far, Jacoby Ellsbury is batting a crisp .300, a level he has maintained throughout his career. the season. As the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox, he focused his attention on increasing his on-base percentage, now up to .350 for the season. That opened the door for a record year.
Boston has never been known for its base threats. Going into the season, Tommy Harper’s 54 steals in 1973 were still the most in franchise history in a single season. All that changed on Aug. 25 when Ellsbury stole third base for his 55th steal of 2009 in a game against the Chicago White Sox. After the game, Ellsbury recognized the historical significance:
“It’s pretty exciting. You think about all the great Red Sox players that have played before me. Being on top of the leaders in one of the categories is incredible. It hasn’t really affected me yet, but I’m sure after the season , you look back and it will be something I’m proud of.”
As promising as that feat was for the sophomore sprinter, Ellsbury’s most memorable moment of 2009 came on a much smaller level. during an ESPN
Sunday night baseball game in late April, Ellsbury found himself at third base as the Red Sox faced Andy Pettitte and the Yankees. The eruption of cheers from 38,154 Red Sox fans at Fenway Park that night told the story of what happened next.
With Pettitte throwing off the rope, Ellsbury took a big leap down the third-base line. I like it the sandlot‘s Benny the Jet and his PF Flyers, Ellsbury took off. On his run to the plate, he was about 15 feet from home plate when the ball left Pettitte’s hand. Ellsbury dove home on a not-so-graceful slip of the head, beating Yankees catcher Jorge Posada’s mark.
What followed was beautiful: a standing ovation for Ellsbury, a scowl for Pettitte.
On what turned out to be a side note, the Red Sox won the game 4-1 as part of their 8-game winning streak against New York earlier in the season. Ellsbury’s brave move headlined the show that night on national television.
He captured the hearts of many a Red Sox fan with his home robbery, including mine. A future perennial All-Star, Ellsbury is projected to hit well for average throughout his career, with the ability to lay down a power hit as he matures. His abilities are still raw at such a young age. He turns 26 tomorrow, September 11. The Ellsbury hype will grow and my crush will too.
Let’s put it this way: my first child will be named Jacoby.