Dustin Pedroia made his first all-star team in 2008. The year the all-star game was taking place in New York at Yankee Stadium. There was a lot going on for Pedroia at this game. He had his priorities in place. On the top of the list? Meet Derek Jeter and pick his brain.
Pedey has been a key player to the Sox recently
and hopefully will be for a long time
Source: Associated Press
So while players were lounging around during batting practice, Pedroia went out to introduce himself to his AL East rival.
"I hadn't met him. I would just say, 'Hey, how you doing,'" remembered Pedroia of his previous talks with the Yankees shortstop prior to the '08 All-Star Game. "I was starting the game with him. I was nervous. It was my first All-Star Game. You want to meet him. The way he acts. His presence. The way he comes off as a guy. You appreciate the way he does things. You just want to get to know him and see for yourself." Pedroia said.
Pedroia was excited to meet Jeter. The Yankee captain played his first season when Pedroia was 13 or 14 years old. Dustin grew up and watched him play, but never wanted to model his game after him. "He was tall so I didn't really want to model my game after him, but I appreciated what he did and saw the way he played and how he acted. That was the standard. That's what you tell your kids. If you're going to be a baseball player, watch him." said Pedroia.
The thing Pedroia admired most about his rival was how he competed. Jeter analyzed at bats like a chipanalyst at a casino. Pedroia said "He competes. In big markets there are things everybody gets caught up in. He cares about winning. That's most important. He puts the team in front of himself and tries to win games. It doesn't matter what numbers say or what anything says. He's there for his teammates and trying to win games. That's what I admire the most."
It's almost impossible to imagine rolling out a career like the great Yankee Captain, but up until this season Pedroia stats had offered somewhat of a resemblance to what Jeter experienced throughout his first 5,157 plate appearances (where Pedroia currently stands). Jeter reached Pedroia's current level of big league experience on June 23, 2003. Here is how the stats compare:
.299 batting average
Pedroia has learned a lot from the Yankee Captain throughout his career
Source: Al Bello/Getty Images
125 stolen bases
.315 batting average
171 stolen bases
Jeter has had a long, historic career that will come to an end today
Source: Sports Illustrated
For Pedroia, his stats are well and good. But Jeter has been a guy Pedroia has learned from in his career. Jeter has taught Pedroia took look at the big picture and realize its a sprint everyday. Pedroia has learned to play game by game and never look ahead.
The biggest similarity between to two for me is the ability they both have to ride out each day and compete in order to find similar successes. They're both winners. Jeter has won games, individual awards, pennants and championships throughout his entire career. Now it's Pedroia's time to continue to win games for the Red Sox for a long time, maybe even as the teams captain.