Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell has been a class act since the day he arrived in the City of Boston. He was a throw-in from the Florida Marlins—added to the Sox haul in the Josh Beckett deal because The Fish wanted to dump his contract.
He is universally considered to be a positive influence in the clubhouse, serving as a liaison between the anglo and hispanic players on the roster. Off the field, he embraced the city. He routinely made himself available to Red Sox Nation, participated in the charitable endeavors of his teammates, and undertook charity work of his own.
Oh yeah, on the field, he produced. The highlight of his tenure with the Red Sox may have been the when he was named MVP of the 2007 World Series.
But now he is being cast aside by a ball club that unabashedly declares it no longer has any use for him. Manager Terry Francona said he appreciates what Lowell has done for the organization, but he was quick to add: “We try to make decisions that we think are really best for the Red Sox.”
Even when that means kicking a valuable performer to the curb. Marvelous!
Folks who read this web site with any consistency know how I feel about the way the Red Sox have treated Mighty-Mike. I think it’s indefensible. And I hope he goes out and proves the Sox's brain trust wrong for having unceremoniously discarded one of the really good guys in the game.
Yet, even with that as a backdrop, Lowell refuses to criticize the ball club, even though he would have every right to do so. He has made a conscious decision to take the high road. He will not burn bridges.
Yesterday he discussed his current situation as a member of the Red Sox: “I think there’s the baseball aspect of it and I think there’s (a) real life aspect of it and I’m very comfortable with where I am in my real life. You know what I mean? I feel I’m in a tremendously privileged situation.
"No one needs to feel sorry for me in life. Is my baseball situation not ideal? Yeah, it’s not ideal. I don’t want to diminish the baseball fact. But you never know what can happen. When I left the Marlins I was disappointed and (Boston) turned into a really good transition for me. So we’ll see.”
He continued: “I’m getting ready for a season. I think I’m pretty intelligent in a sense that there’s no real playing time for me here barring a major injury, and I’m not in the business of hoping somebody gets hurt so I can get at-bats… I feel like I’m more prepared and ready for a full season than I was last year, so why shouldn’t I play more than I did last year whether it’s here or somewhere else?”
Of his time in Boston he said: “I don’t want to discount the fact that I feel like I’ve had tremendous support (from the fans) and I think the fans appreciate the way I played (while I was here). I think they appreciate someone who comes to play every day.”
He said that he is well aware that fans (such as myself) are angered over the way he’s been treated, and he is appreciative of those sentiments. He said he is well aware of the ground swell of support he enjoys because he has his wife check the various websites every day: “She says, ‘Do you know how many people are really on your side in all of this?’”
And then he added: “I’ll be honest with you, that’s a very flattering thing when the fans feel like there’s an injustice being put on you. That’s a good feeling when you have the fans on your side.”
And his feelings towards Red Sox Nation? he quickly says: “I love the fans.”
He has been hitting off a tee and expects to be facing live pitching any day. He said his thumb is fine: “I’m not really worried about my thumb much. The surgery went really well, the rehab’s gone really well. I’m hitting off a tee. I assume within a week I’ll be taking batting practice. I don’t see (the thumb) as a major problem.”
He said being in camp is a bit awkward under the current circumstances, but he doesn’t seem to be overly affected by the situation: “I’m actually excited. This might seem awkward baseball-wise but I actually enjoy being on the field and seeing all the guys I haven’t seen. I had dinner with Jacoby and Pedroia yesterday. I like that aspect.”
And what does he expect from the next several weeks? He said: “I’m highly motivated to show that I can play. Where that takes me, I don’t know. I really don’t. We’ll see. There is some type of curiosity that I have that I’m anxious to see what happens.”
Where others (myself included) see inequity, he sees opportunity. If he feels it, he has demonstrated no animosity towards the club. He’s a true professional. And in my opinion, that’s even more reason to love and respect the guy.
It’s a love and respect that is reciprocated by one heckuva classy individual.
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