Red Sox's Collapse in 2011 Paved the Way for Marco Scutaro's Dominance in NLCS

Chris KolbContributor IIOctober 23, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Marco Scutaro #19 of the San Francisco Giants holds up the MVP trophy after the Giants defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on October 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by David J. Phillip/Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

In baseball, just as in life, bad moments that we'd love to forget have a funny way of coming back in roundabout fashion to help us in the future.

Never has the been more evident than in the case of Marco Scutaro.

Scutaro went through the lowest point in his career just a season ago while suffering miserably through the Red Sox's disastrous September collapse, only to end up playing a tremendous second base and crushing everything he saw at the plate en route to the 2012 NLCS Most Valuable Player trophy with the San Francisco Giants.

Scutaro's time in Boston will forever be remembered for the horrific performance down the stretch in 2011 that changed the Red Sox from World Series favorites to baseball's biggest chokers in just one terrible month.

The real story on Scutaro though, is that he showed a remarkable amount of determination and guts in fighting through injuries that would have had many players on the disabled list for an extended period of time, earning the respect of his teammates, coaches and those that watched him play in the process.

A willingness to sacrifice his body to help his team achieve a greater goal is neither unique nor common, but it's rare to find a player like Scutaro that has the ability to push through the pain and perform at a level deserving of an MVP trophy, especially with their team's season on the line more often than not.

That was on display again in this postseason, with Scutaro grinding out tough at-bats and making sensational plays in the field after being steamrolled by Matt Holliday at second base early on in Game 2. He could have easily decided to rest his body a bit in favor of being stronger late in the series, but instead he pushed it all aside and willed himself to greatness, hitting .500 and playing stellar defense to put the Giants on his back and into the World Series.

For those that watched him play in Boston, Scutaro's tenacity and toughness is not a foreign concept, as he somehow willed himself to play in 150 games and rack up 174 hits, both career highs, in an otherwise dismal 2010 campaign for the Red Sox, all while suffering through agonizing shoulder pain that forced him to throw the ball in a completely different way than he had before just to be able to stay in the lineup each day.

Most players would have given up when faced with such difficulty. Not so with Scutaro.

He's a different breed, a throwback if you will, and fans of the game everywhere can bear witness to his determination on baseball's biggest and grandest stage over the next week-and-a-half as the Giants take on the Tigers in what's sure to be an amazing World Series. 

It's hard to think that such a stunning reversal of fortune could have been possible, given how low Scutaro must have felt in 2011, but given the stoic nature he's displayed throughout his entire career, it comes as little surprise that Scutaro would find his way back.

For most, that journey takes time to complete, but for Scutaro, it took just a season to come full circle.

Starting with a questionable trade to Colorado by a Red Sox team grasping for anything to keep the attention of their fans, and moving on to a midseason acquisition by San Francisco that has to be seen now as one of the shrewdest moves in recent memory, Scutaro's rags-to-riches story is one that will live on in the annals of the game.

Hopefully the Red Sox have taken note and remembered that players like Scutaro are what made them great in both 2004 and 2007. Superstars can only take a team so far. Champions come from tougher stuff, and in an age of athletes bringing out the worst in choosing to act with an air of indifference more often than not, Scutaro's performance in this postseason is something we should all aspire to emulate in our personal and professional lives.

Nice guys finish last, so they say, but at the end of this epic, the good guy came out on top. And I for one could not be happier for him.