Dear ESPN.com: Dustin Pedroia Is Short. We Get It.
ESPN.com, we follow you on Dustin Pedroia.
He’s not very tall.
We’ve got that one nailed down. Really, we do.
We know because you evidently assigned a beat reporter to cover Pedroia’s stature when he broke into the big leagues and have been keeping us posted diligently ever since.
Midway through Pedroia’s rookie season, Tim Kurkjian broke down Pedroia thusly: “He's short and swings really hard, but, lately, he has really hit.”
When Pedroia was named American League MVP last year, the Nov. 18 story you ran made it all of six sentences before dropping a reference to the “Boston little man with the meaty swing.”
Three weeks later, Peter Gammons’ write-up of Pedroia’s new six-year contract extension recycled a line from that same story that described Boston’s second baseman as “generously listed at 5'9".”
So he started out short and he stayed that way. We’re right there with you.
Now, you’re offering up an E:60 video report with this tagline:
“Don't judge Dustin Pedroia by his size or what he says. It'll just drive Boston's pint-sized MVP to new heights.”
Pedroia, 5’ 8”-minus and 180 pounds, certainly has had to overcome physical limitations and challenges of perception to get where he is today. It’s easy to understand how he’s used those challenges to push himself to excel.
It’s a little more difficult to understand why certain sporting news outlets—and we’re not naming names here—have taken such a keen and sustained interest in Pedroia’s measurements from cap to cleats.
After all, to read your coverage on Pedroia, one might think he’s the only not-quite-larger-than-life ballplayer ever to take to the diamond, that he risked life and limb to tread among the giants that populate MLB rosters, let alone to beat them out for a major award.
From the way you cast Pedroia, in fact, it’s easy to forget that he’s not even the smallest MVP of the past two seasons.
That distinction goes to Jimmy Rollins, who doesn’t quite measure up to his 5’8” billing and weighs in at 170 pounds—10 pounds lighter than Pedroia (depending on whose numbers you trust, of course).
Then again, I suppose that sort of thing slips your mind when you don’t take the time to bring up the subject every time Rollins’ name comes up.
We wouldn't want to forget about Pedroia's size, though—if you didn't remind us how tall he was (or wasn't), we might not remember not to judge him by his height.
You’re not the only sports media outlet to catch a bad case of five-foot-something fever.
Throw Pedroia's name into a Google search along with the word “short.” You get seven front-page hits about his height.
Now try the same game with Ichiro and Ivan Rodriguez, both of whom measure in at 5’9” (we’d recommend this little experiment for Rollins, too, but the results are a bit skewed by the fact that he plays shortstop).
Either that inch makes a big difference, or Joe Average-Height winning an MVP isn’t quite the coup you’ve made it out to be.
Heck, your E:60 special featured Joe Morgan marveling at Pedroia, and you managed not to freak out about how the two-time MVP and Hall of Famer was 5’7”.
The absurdity of the piece came to a head when Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy noted, “You wouldn’t have this sort of thing in the NBA or the NFL, where the MVP could be a guy who looks like that.”
Well, no, Mr. Shaughnessy, you wouldn’t, because in the NBA, you have to put a ball in a hoop that’s 10 feet off the ground.
In the NFL, you have to jockey with other players—many of whom are, in fact, tall—to catch a ball out of the air.
In baseball, unless Robinson Cano has been refining his lethal “line drive that’s a little too high for Dustin Pedroia to catch” swing, the game isn’t exactly stacked against the vertically challenged.
Pedroia isn't a miracle. He's not a Lilliputian.
He’s just a little short. We get it.
Get over it. Please.
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