Take 15 With Dustin Pedroia
Aug. 8, 2005
You played in Sacramento growing up and Arizona State for college ball, two warm climates, how big of an adjustment was it getting used to the cold New England spring staring off in Portland, Maine?
The weather is something that definitely takes time to get used to. The first month it was raining and even snowing at times. You've got to wear a couple of layers. You've got to get runners in scoring position because there aren't going to be a lot of hits or runs scored. You've got to play good defense to win games like that.
The Sox farm system seems to be bursting with highly touted prospects, several of which you played with last year that are now on the PawSox. How much does it help to have several guys your age going through the same pressure and expectations?
It helps out a lot and makes things more comfortable. We've all played together in Sarasota and in Portland and we're playing to win instead of playing for ourselves. I think that's big since we're all going though the same thing.
You've said the adjustment from college ball to AA, offensively was minimal. What has been the biggest adjustment for you since leaving college?
I think just playing on an everyday basis. You play three times a weekend in college. I think getting your body in to that kind of shape is the biggest jump from college to professional baseball.
With the publication of Moneyball, many major league teams are focusing more on performance and statistics than potential and how a player 'looks' in a uniform. However, there are still organizations that draft players on their size. Did you ever feel overlooked because of your height? And if so, was that a source of motivation you needed to prove that you were talented player regardless of your physical stature?
Sure. I was always overlooked because I wasn't the tallest or the biggest guy, but I was always out there performing. I'm a baseball player. I think that the teams that are drafting the college players that put up numbers and have a team mentality are the organizations that succeed. They want players who are major league ready in the next couple years.
For younger players who would like to one day play in college and hopefully in the pros, what are the most important elements to becoming a polished baseball player?
I feel the most important thing is just going out and playing. I played two seasons summer ball when in high school where we played 60 games in 50 days. I think the more you play, the better you'll get. Living in a warm part of the country definitely helped, but playing will make you better.
Your father owns a tire shop back in California. What are the best tires to purchase to get through the snowy New England winters?
He hasn't yet. I've got mud tires on my jeep right now. I don't know much about the snow and that kind of stuff.
On the Arizona State website it mentions that your parents, Guy and Debbie, were always at your games, both home and away, and still listen to your games when broadcasted on the internet. What role did your family take in your development as a person and as a baseball player?
Tons. They don't get a chance to watch me play as much now that I'm on the east coast. They've come to about seven games this year and it's been awesome. They love baseball as much as I do. We were always playing, as it was the only thing to do where I was growing up. It's fun calling home to tell them how the game went and I love how they follow it.
Your career has been highlighted by numerous accolades. You were named to 11 All-American teams through your collegiate career, three consecutive first team All-Pac-10 selections as well as Pac-10 player of the year in 2003 just to name a few. Which do you feel is the most significant accomplishment thus far in your career?
I think the Pat Tillman Award I received as a junior at Arizona State is the one that means the most. I felt that was special in light of what he accomplished and what that award meant in terms of my years at Arizona State. To be thought of like that by my teammates and the coaching staff was a great honor.
Speaking of college, you still had one year of eligibility left and could have returned to Arizona State. Is there any part of college life that you miss?
I miss the guys that I played with, especially the guys that came into Arizona State with me. I felt like I kind of left them hanging when I signed last year. They made it to the College World Series this year and they did a great job. We still talk to each other almost every day. Arizona State was a special place to play and I'm looking forward to going back there after the season.
What were your first thoughts when Portland Manager Todd Claus told you that you were being promoted to Pawtucket?
My first thoughts were kind of sad as I was leaving my teammates and we were in first place. We were so focused on winning. He (Claus) told me that I needed to get up to Pawtucket and prove myself so I could get to the next level, and get there fast. He said I might play a little shortstop or a second base, but to go there and keep doing what I was doing up in Portland.
I know you've only been with the organization for one year but I'm sure you've heard about the idea of Red Sox Nation. Have you gotten a feel for what the Red Sox mean to New England yet or has there been one instance where you've personally experienced the passion of Red Sox fans?
I don't have any personal experience, but I know that the fans are great. They root for the Sox and they want to win now and that's the way it should be. If you're playing well, they love you and that's how it should be.
You've been one game away from the Little League World Series and one game a way from the College World Series. Obviously a trip to the Major League World Series means a great deal to every player, but would it mean more to you seeing as though you have been so close through the years?
Definitely. Getting real close to winning a championship and achieving the ultimate team goal, it's a special experience. I saw what the Red Sox did last year and it was great. To go to a World Series and win it is what I play for.
Though you don't get too many of them during the season, what do you enjoy doing most when you finally have an off day?
Sleeping. :Laughs: I just like to hang out because when you're playing everyday, a day off feels like a week off.
What part about daily life in the minor leagues would surprise fans most or what surprised you in your first few weeks as a professional player?
I'd say the travel. After you get done playing a night game, you have to drive through the night to the next city. It's miserable because you're eating and sleeping habits get messed up. You get to the stadium tired, but you go out there and perform.
What have you noticed to be the biggest differences between life on the East Coast and life on the West Coast?
It's a lot faster pace out here. It seems like everyone is in a hurry. On the West Coast things are more laidback and chilled out. I don't know if it's that I don't know how to drive, but people are maniacs out on the road. They're always honking and I'm like, 'You need to slow down and figure out what you're doing.' It's kind of crazy.