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There’s been speculation around Red Sox Nation that Jacoby Ellsbury is embellishing the seriousness of his injury because he doesn’t want to play, even some comparing him to Manny Ramirez. That’s pretty humorous.
For those who don’t believe in Ellsbury and his passion for the game, take a look at this video.
Keeping in mind, Ellsbury made this catch just days after returning from the DL for his hairline fractured rib cage. He knew he wasn’t completely healed, and he still took the field.
Does that really look like a guy that doesn’t want to play? That catch, from a less-than-100% Ellsbury, is more effort than we would have seen from a Manny Ramirez at 200%. And not once have we ever seen Ellsbury sneak into the Green Monster to take a leak, either.
I’ll admit, Jacoby reminds me a lot of Nomar, in a sense that he takes his training very seriously and in the process, gives off a diva-esque attitude. But I really think he’s getting a bad reputation because of this. He’s hands-down the most athletic guy on the team, and in his absence, our base stealing and defense has suffered.
With his frenetic style of play, Ellsbury spends more time on his belly and butt than he does on his feet. As a result, his careful conditioning is of paramount importance. Still, he is a player that gives his all and pulls his weight even if he is not feeling up to par, unlike frequent flyers of the DL like J.D. Drew.
The video linked above is one in a pool of hundreds of great Ellsbury catches that could have been shown. We’ve all been wowed by his almost Superman-like ways of catching seemingly impossible balls, and his athleticism .
The injury he suffered in a collision with Adrian Beltre on April 11 was one that, given his role on this team, is definitely less than ideal. Ellsbury is known for his base-stealing and diving catches, both of which he spends plenty of time on his stomach and clearly irritating his rib cage. Swinging the bat to get on base couldn’t be too comfortable, either.
If you really want to know who the main culprit of putting Ellsbury in this negative light, I think we should look at Red Sox management. I wouldn’t doubt that given the chance to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, they would give up Ellsbury in a heart beat. While Ellsbury is on the younger side of the age spectrum at 26, he’s still not the youngest, and the Red Sox are getting old.
They have two young and promising outfield prospects in Ray Fuentes and Ryan Westmoreland (assuming he will be healthy enough to play following his brain surgery in the next year or so) that I think they would be willing to sacrifice Jacoby to get a bigger bat in the line-up like Gonzalez.
It’s hard to watch someone like Jacoby receive the brunt of so much negativity when, for the past few seasons, we have been in awe at this athleticism, speed, and determination. I mean, seriously, which other Red Sox player has earned their fans free Taco Bell?! We love Tacoby Ellsbury.
We cheer on guys like David Ortiz who Cadillac it and run at half their potential speed every time they get a hit.
Scoring isn’t the only important aspect of the game of baseball. There are so many different components to a successful team, which is why we love it so much. And while he may not be a power hitter, there is no doubting the important role Ellsbury has on this team.